ki·​lo·​byte ˈki-lə-ˌbīt How to pronounce kilobyte (audio) ˈkē-lə- How to pronounce kilobyte (audio)
: a unit of computer information equal to 1024 bytes
also : one thousand bytes

Did you know?

Knowing the root kilo-, you might think a kilobyte would be exactly 1,000 bytes. But actually a kilobyte represents the power of 2 that comes closest to 1,000: that is, 210 (2 to the 10th power), or 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2, or 1,024. Why 2? Because the capacity of memory chips is always based on powers of 2. Locations in electronic memory circuits are identified by binary numbers (numbers that use only the digits 0 and 1), so the number of addressable locations becomes a power of 2.

Examples of kilobyte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With the official firmware taking up most of the radio’s 64 kilobytes of flash memory, such mods have to fit into less than 3 KB. IEEE Spectrum, 27 Mar. 2024 Then, an alert sent to railway operators is mere kilobytes in size. Matt Simon, WIRED, 31 Jan. 2024 Blaauw explains that the sensor platform features a microprocessor, a radio, and few kilobytes of memory. IEEE Spectrum, 1 June 2015 This was fine, as memory prices were still sky-high in 1980, and most computers of the day had a maximum of 64 kilobytes of RAM. Jeremy Reimer, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2023 Today, the company announced the availability of wallet-sized cards that store one kilobyte of text data each—the equivalent of a short email—using DNA as the storage medium. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 4 Dec. 2023 The $1,000 price tag includes two identical cards, each of which comes with one kilobyte of storage. Emma Roth, The Verge, 4 Dec. 2023 Al-Agha, the digital marketer, shared a screenshot showing mobile internet speeds of 7.18 kilobytes per second; average mobile speeds in the US in 2022 were 24 megabits per second, according to mobile analytics firm Statista. WIRED, 27 Oct. 2023 Embedding Macintosh software in 64 kilobytes of read-only memory increased the reliability of the computer and simplified the hardware [A]. IEEE Spectrum, 2 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kilobyte.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from the fact that 1024 (210) is the power of 2 closest to 1000

First Known Use

1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kilobyte was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near kilobyte

Cite this Entry

“Kilobyte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ki·​lo·​byte ˈkē-lə-ˌbīt How to pronounce kilobyte (audio)
: 1024 bytes

More from Merriam-Webster on kilobyte

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