zil·​lion·​aire | \ ˌzil-yə-ˈner How to pronounce zillionaire (audio) \

Definition of zillionaire

: an immeasurably wealthy person

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The word millionaire has been used in English to designate a person who is worth a million pounds or dollars, depending on the side of the ocean, since 1786. We borrowed the word straight from the French, whose millions, of course, were in francs. Millionaire eventually no longer sufficed, and English speakers coined billionaire in 1844. Soon afterwards came multimillionaire, followed by multibillionaire in the early 1900s. Once zillion was made up as a humorous word for an indeterminately large number (patterned on million and billion), it was only a matter of time before zillionaire came along as a humorous word for a person of seemingly immeasurable wealth. Zillion and zillionaire aren't used in the most formal of writing, but they have found their way into plenty of serious publications.

Examples of zillionaire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Disaster strikes when Loretta is kidnaped by eccentric zillionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes to use her anthropological knowhow to recover an ancient whatsit from a remote jungle island. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 24 Mar. 2022 The mission here is to save the world from its hideous near-future and to prevent time travel from being invented and exploited, for personal gain, by the all-powerful tech zillionaire played by Catherine Keener. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 10 Mar. 2022 Among the tech zillionaire classes, a place to bug out in the event of an economic collapse, environmental disaster or violent uprising became the thing to have. Alex Williams, New York Times, 18 Oct. 2019 So, Jenny and Ken are boneheads and still think Fox is Jamie Foxx, because clearly in their world an Oscar-winning zillionaire needs to grovel for minor coins on this trash. Robbie Daw, Billboard, 19 Dec. 2019 Gwyneth Paltrow plays Payton’s mom with a benevolent glow; the family also includes a gerbil-like zillionaire father (Bob Balaban) and Payton’s two older brothers, a set of toxic jocks with popped collars. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, 24 Sep. 2019 The boy zillionaire saves his parents and Rich Industries from a scheming executive. Los Angeles Times, 11 Aug. 2019 The hybrid term has its roots in the venture capital movement, an investment technique pioneered in Silicon Valley, where tech-savvy zillionaires have been plowing their own stashes back into start-ups for four decades. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, 27 May 2014 In steps a savior, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a suspiciously upbeat zillionaire who runs a giant telecommunications company with his watchful sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener). Brad Bird, New York Times, 13 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zillionaire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of zillionaire

1946, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zillionaire

zillion + -aire (as in millionaire)

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The first known use of zillionaire was in 1946

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Cite this Entry

“Zillionaire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zillionaire. Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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Britannica English: Translation of zillionaire for Arabic Speakers


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