Real words for really big numbers in Microsoft Word

What are the real words for really big numbers, waaay over a trillion? Does Microsoft Word’s dictionary recognize them? (Answer: most but not all and there’s even a spelling mistake in Word!). How many is a billion anyway?

We’ve looked at the informal words for vague large numbers such as zillion, gazillion etc.

There are English words for every extra “three zeros” added to a number.  A million is 1 plus six zeros, billion is usually 1 plus nine zeros (see below) and that continues up to 1 plus ninety-nine zeros (duotrigintillion).

  • million = 1×106
  • billion (common) or milliard= 1×109
  • trillion or old UK billion = 1×1012
  • quadrillion = 1×1015
  • quintillion = 1×1018
  • sextillion = 1×1021
  • septillion = 1×1024
  • octillion = 1×1027
  • nonillion = 1×1030
  • decillion = 1×1033
  • undecillion = 1×1036
  • duodecillion = 1×1039
  • tredecillion = 1×1042
  • quattuordecillion = 1×1045
  • quindecillion = 1×1048
  • sexdecillion = 1×1051
  • septemdecillion = 1×1054
  • octodecillion = 1×1057
  • novemdecillion = 1×1060
  • vigintillion = 1×1063
  • unvigintillion (or vigintunillion) = 1×1066
  • duovigintillion (or vigintiduoillion) = 1×1069
  • trevigintillion (or vigintitrillion) = 1×1072
  • quattuorvigintillion (or vigintiquadrillion) = 1×1075
  • quinvigintillion (or vigintiquintrillion) = 1×1078
  • sexvigintillion (or vigintisextillion) = 1×1081
  • septvigintillion (or vigintiseptillion) = 1×1084
  • octovigintillion (or vigintoctillion) = 1×1087
  • nonvigintillion (or vigintinonillion) = 1×1090
  • trigintillion = 1×1093
  • untrigintillion = 1×1096
  • duotrigintillion = 1×1099
    • at this point, give up jumping in groups of three zeros …
  • ten-duotrigintillion or googol = 1×10100
  • centillion = 1×10303
    • (after 1,000 add a hundred groups of “three zeros”)

FYI Excel can handle numbers up to around 1 x 10307

And finally there’s Googolplex or 1 followed by a Googol of zeros:

googolplex is 1 followed by a Googol of zeros

Another FYI: Word’s Equation Editor is needed for the double superscript, enter as LaTeX: 10^(10^100)

Source:  Ever Heard of a Prillionaire?

Word dictionary vs big numbers

As you might expect, Word’s English dictionary is OK with the lower ranges of number names but isn’t as good when the names get more obscure (larger).

Words for large numbers with spell checking in Microsoft Word (US English)

It’s the same results in the English language variants like US, UK and Australian.

Spelling errors in the Word dictionary

There’s a little spelling error in the Word dictionary (US English), strictly speaking there’s two! It might have been in there for years since  trevigintillion ( 1 followed by 72 zeros) doesn’t come up often.

We could not figure out why trevigintillion was getting a red squiggly line in Word until we looked very closely at the suggested replacements.  Can you spot it?

Word’s dictionary has a spelling mistake – two really.  There’s a double “i” and missing “l” (or the first “l” is replaced with an “i”) as in trevigintiilion or  trevigintiilions.

Perhaps someone in Microsoft’s dictionary team would care to make a little correction?

At the same time add “septemdecillion” which is an anomaly. Fixing that would let Word correctly spell check everything up to 1075 aka quattuorvigintillion.

Or go the whole hog and add all the words up to “duotrigintillion” <g>

Billion can mean different things around the world

Back in the middle of the 20th century there were two values for “billion” depending on where you lived.  Also for following larger values like “trillion” and “quadrillion”

Billion could mean either:

  • 1,000,000,000 (a thousand million or 1 then nine zeros or 1×109)
    • US definition, apparently inherited from French usage.
  • 1,000,000,000,000 (a million million or 1 then twelve zeros or 1×1012)
    • Old British billion (aka trillion)

The US billion is sometimes called the “short scale billion” as opposed to the larger “long scale billion”.

The US/French billion is now accepted in English speaking countries, including Britain.  The change was gradual after WW2, firstly in technical and scientific work. The British government switched to the ‘thousand million’ definition back in the 1974.

Unless stated otherwise or in old British/colonial documents, a billion means the same thing all over the English-language world i.e. 1,000,000,000.

Sources:  Wikipedia and The Guardian

Zillion, Jillion and other big ‘numbers’ in Microsoft Word

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