• WordNet 3.6
    • adj billion denoting a quantity consisting of one thousand million items or units in the United States
    • adj billion denoting a quantity consisting of one million million items or units in Great Britain
    • n billion the number that is represented as a one followed by 9 zeros
    • n billion the number that is represented as a one followed by 12 zeros; in the United Kingdom the usage followed in the United States is frequently seen
    • n billion a very large indefinite number (usually hyperbole) "there were millions of flies"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Every day, over five billion gallons of water are flushed down toilets in the United States
    • n Billion According to the French and American method of numeration, a thousand millions, or 1,000,000,000; according to the English method, a million millions, or 1,000,000,000,000. See Numeration.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Retail sales for soft drinks in the United States in 2001 were more than sixty billion dollars
    • n billion In Great Britain, a million of millions; as many millions as there are units in a million (1,000,000,000,000).
    • n billion In France and the United States, a thousand millions (1,000,000,000). [The word billion was introduced into French in the sixteenth century, in the sense of a million to the second power, as a trillion was a million to the third power. At that time numbers were usually pointed off in periods of six figures. In the seventeenth century the custom prevailed of pointing off numbers in periods of three, and this led to the change in the meaning of the word billion in French. The words billion, trillion, etc., did not apparently come into use in English until a later date, for Locke (“Essay on the Human Understanding,” ii. 16, § 6, 1690) speaks of the use of billion as a novelty. The English meaning of the word is thus the original and most systematic. The word billion is not used in the French of every-day life, one thousand millions being called a milliard.]
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The makers of Crayola produce over 2 billion crayons in a year
    • n Billion bil′yun a million or thousand thousand of millions (1,000,000,000,000); or, according to the French method of numeration, one thousand millions (1,000,000,000).
    • ***


  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Americans don't spend billions for entertainment. They spend it in search of entertainment.”
  • Everett M. Dirksen
    Everett M. Dirksen
    “A billion here, a billion there, and soon you're talking about real money.”
  • Ezra Pound
    “There once was a brainy baboon who always breathed down a bassoon for he said, It appears that in billions of years I shall certainly hit on a tune.”
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
    “There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.”
  • Peter De Vries
    “Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, What's in it for me?”
  • Gerhard Kocher
    “Pharma industry is the art of making billions from milligrams.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. billion, arbitrarily formed fr. L. bis, twice, in imitation of million, a million. See Million
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. bi-, twice, and Million.


In literature:

Sirius, 'the leader of the heavenly host,' is distant fifty billions of miles.
"The Astronomy of Milton's 'Paradise Lost'" by Thomas Orchard
Foster's worth about ten billion of you any day.
"Godfrey Marten, Undergraduate" by Charles Turley
From sun to planets is measured in millions of miles, but from sun to sun is measured in billions.
"Astronomy of To-day" by Cecil G. Dolmage
The mass of a comet may, indeed, be a few million or even billion tons; but that is quite small in astronomy.
"Pioneers of Science" by Oliver Lodge
It is worth about a billion dollars.
"Arizona's Yesterday" by John H. Cady
Yes, it was still there before his eyes, and represented a treasure of probably half a billion dollars in gold and precious stones!
"The Web of the Golden Spider" by Frederick Orin Bartlett
Counting three generations per century, there have been about twelve billion of us in the last two hundred years.
"Disowned" by Victor Endersby
During the first two years of the war the Central Committee disbursed over half a billion dollars.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of VIII)" by Various
Kygpton itself was a world as large as your entire solar system, with a diameter roughly of four billion miles.
"Raiders of the Universes" by Donald Wandrei
It is a very important tax to the Government, bringing as it does over a billion a year, and a place to put this load is not to be found easily.
"Herbert Hoover" by Vernon Kellogg
On the other hand, he hesitated at the idea of being responsible for the death of anywhere up to three billion people.
"Warrior Race" by Robert Sheckley
There are billions of possible connections between the neurons of the cortex.
"They Twinkled Like Jewels" by Philip José Farmer
The population of the world's over two billion!
"Rope" by Holworthy Hall
Worth about a billion, I reckon.
"The Plunderer" by Roy Norton
A billion billion morsels of wet mud were no more imposing than one.
"Dreamers of the Ghetto" by I. Zangwill
In forty years this commerce has increased from two billions to thirty billions.
"Prize Orations of the Intercollegiate Peace Association" by Intercollegiate Peace Association
Besides, a poor soul might lose its way, and dash about the billion-billion-miled universe like a lunatic meteor.
"Flowers of Freethought" by George W. Foote
Ten million or ten billion behaving as one.
"Under the Maples" by John Burroughs
By that time, we'll be close to two billion miles beyond the orbit of Pluto.
"Hanging by a Thread" by Gordon Randall Garrett
There were two billion people on the earth now.
"The "Genius"" by Theodore Dreiser

In poetry:

(p) Ay, paint our swarthy billions
The richest of vermillions
Ere two well-led cotillions
Have danced themselves away.
"The Masque of Plenty" by Rudyard Kipling
In all of spangled space, but I
To stare moon-struck into the sky;
Of billion beings I alone
To praise the Moon as still as stone.
"Moon-Lover" by Robert W Service
a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.
"Buddha in Glory" by Rainer Maria Rilke
He revels in a pedigree,
The sprouting of a noble tree
'Way back in prehistoric times;
And for the "Family Record" true
Of scions all that ever grew
Would give a billion dimes.
"The Antiquarian" by Hattie Howard
But yet each part cries out--
O you who from the billioned multitude,
O you unique, you chosen, wooed
and singled out, you cradle, bed,
and grave, soft quickener of the dead,
receive me into you.
"Ode [Óda]" by Attila Jozsef
He ain't got enny kind ov show
Tew talk ov chast'ning trials;
When thet thar thunder cloud lets down
It's sixty billion vials;
No! when it looks tew rain on hay,
First take yer rake an' then yer pray!
"Old Spense" by Isabella Valancy Crawford

In news:

This week, the country said it would buy back (EURO)31.9 billion ($41.5 billion) of its bonds from private investors at a third of their face value.
The European Commission expects eurozone finance ministers to follow through on their promise to disburse a 34.4-billion-euro (44.8-billion-dollar) bailout tranche to Greece on Thursday.
BERLIN – Rating agency Moody's has stripped the eurozone's new €500 billion ($615 billion) bailout fund of its top credit rating.
European Union authorities have approved the payment of (EURO)37 billion ($47.96 billion) in bailout loans to four of Spain's struggling banks _ provided each of them cut their loans and investments by 60 percent.
The deal is valued at about $1.6 billion, slightly more than Apex's $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
Spain's economy ministry says euro 39.5 billion ($51.3 billion) in bailout aid approved by European authorities for troubled Spanish banks has arrived.
MADRID – Spanish banks borrowed 365 billion euros ($478 billion) from the European Central Bank in November, virtually unchanged from October, data from the Bank of Spain showed on Friday.
Germany's main opposition parties are proposing that banks should pay at least (EURO)200 billion ($260 billion) into a new European rescue fund rather than hoping for taxpayer-funded bailouts in future.
Said Tuesday that the banking industry earned $37.6 billion in the third quarter, up 6.6 percent from $35.3 billion in the third quarter of 2011.
HSBC's $1.9 billion fine for money-laundering is a record for a bank , but its one-off nature means that it's largely symbolic for an institution with a market cap of 118 billion pounds.
Being in the Billion-Dollar Startup Club limits how, and whether, a company can get out of the Billion-Dollar Startup Club -- at least safely.
Revenue rose 10% to $23.72 billion from $21.63 billion, beating Wall Street's forecast of $23.54 billion.
Revenue rose 18 percent to $1.89 billion, also beating the $1.88 billion expected by analysts.
We spend $10 billion a day, we have $6 billion in income and that leaves us $4 billion in debt.
Berkshire 's revenue grew to $41.05 billion from last year's $33.74 billion.

In science:

Radioactive dating of meteorites shows that the sun is 4.6 billion years old.
How the sun shines
In principle, this could allow the sun to shine for about a 100 billion years.
How the sun shines
According to standard theory, about a hundred billion solar neutrinos pass through your thumbnail every second and you don’t notice them.
How the sun shines
We find that the sample size required to predict the mean within ±10% statistical error is over 48 billion for T = 20, a task which is nearly impossible on any computer.
An Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation of Statistical physics Problem
We need only a sample of size 2687 from the g -ensemble to estimate the mean within ±10% of the exact, as compared to the sample of size 48 billion from the f -ensemble.
An Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation of Statistical physics Problem
We find that the number of histories required to predict the mean within ±10% statistical error is over 48 billion for T = 20 mfp, a task which is clearly impossible on any computer.
Monte Carlo: Basics
We need to simulate only 2687 histories to estimate the mean within ±10% of the exact, as compared to 48 billion histories required under analogue simulation.
Monte Carlo: Basics
The fact that the first billion digits of a random sequence are perfectly lawful, for instance by being exactly the first digits of the decimal expansion of π , does not change in any way the global property of randomness.
Incompleteness, Complexity, Randomness and Beyond
The experiment should be done by measuring the positions and the velocities of all the billions of billions of atoms and we should later use this information to compute the tra jectories of all the atoms.
Complex Systems: a Physicist's Viewpoint
In addition it has been previously obtained that the flux today is higher by about 30% than the average flux over the past billion years.
The Spiral Structure of the Milky Way, Cosmic Rays, and Ice Age Epochs on Earth
In particular, it is debated whether iceage epochs in the past billion years have been periodic or not.
The Spiral Structure of the Milky Way, Cosmic Rays, and Ice Age Epochs on Earth
Conscious perception takes hundreds of milliseconds. “Neurobiologists believe that memories are encoded in the synapses, and two billion synapses per square millimeter of cortex can hold a lot of memories.” Most brain processes are unconscious.
A model of memory, learning and recognition
Type Ia SNe start contributing later, at around 100 million years, but are still going off after 10 billion years.
The impact of galaxy formation on X-ray groups
This difference will be important when studying large social networks which may have billions of nodes.
Random Vibrational Networks and Renormalization Group
En consecuencia la expresi´on ‘thousands of billions’ la hemos traducido como ‘billones’. 4Damos las gracias a Juan Luis Ma˜nes y a Cumrun Vafa por esta informaci´on.
Brane Worlds, the Subanthropic Principle and the Undetectability Conjecture