The largest number-word used by the early Romans was "mille", meaning thousand. A distance of one thousand paces was "milia"; which we used to call a mile. The suffix "ione" implies an unusually large size. So when a number bigger than one thousand (mille) was needed, the word chosen was: "mille ione" ----> "million" = 1,000,000 or 10^{6} The Latin prefix "bi" means twice, so the word with twice as many zeros as milli leads use to "billion", or 10^{9} For bigger numbers, the Latin prefixes are used: tri, quad, quint, sext, sept, etc. - hence 10^{12} , trillion; 10^{15},
quadrillion; 10^{18}, quintillion; 10^{21},
sextillion; 10^{24}, septillion Reference: Chem13 News, December 1994 |