There are several "original questions"Indeed, this answers the original question.
Is this phrase common?
However many billions (your own definition will suffice) of times you may choose to ignore the many statements in this thread, and the many dictionary citations provided, the answer is that "milliard" is used, but very sparingly.It was in #1: The question is, whether British "milliard" or "a thousand million" is used for AE "billion" and now BE "billion".
The answer is "Yes, it is used".
The question was not what is the meaning, but are the words used - as far as I understand it.
The indirect question may be what is the meaning.
Compact OED. Emphasis added.milliard
• noun Brit., dated one thousand million; a billion.
Each time the thread is resurrected we get more opinions and reactions, and more research. I think this is valuable.George French said:PS.. This is rather a hackneyed subject in the English Forum any way. I'm surprised this thread wasn't closed long ago.
SourceMr. Maxwell-Hyslop asked the Prime Minister whether he will make it the practice of his administration that when Ministers employ the word "billion" in any official speeches, documents, or answers to Parliamentary Questions, they will, to avoid confusion, only do so in its British meaning of 1 million million and not in the sense in which it is used in the United States of America, which uses the term "billion" to mean 1,000 million.
The Prime Minister No. The word "billion" is now used internationally to mean 1,000 million and it would be confusing if British Ministers were to use it in any other sense. I accept that it could still be interpreted in this country as 1 million million and I shall ask my colleagues to ensure that, if they do use it, there should be no ambiguity as to its meaning.
The UK Office for National Statistics and hence the UK government have used the short scale since 1974. There's no question of £700 billion in a recent UK official document being anything other than £700,000,000,000. Here's another article which talks at some length about the conventions:According to this Wikipedia article, the entire budget for the UK in 2007-2008 was projected to be 700,000,000,000 (700 Billion in U.S. terms, or to be perfectly clear since this is the topic of discussion, 700 thousand million). I can't see how "billion" in the article could refer to "million millions" (trillions in AE) since that would make the tax error nearly four times the size of the annual budget. It seems to me that £2.8 billion in the article can only mean £2,800,000,000 (2.8 thousand million), not £2,800,000,000,000 (2.8 million million, which in AE terms would be "trillion").