# Milliard

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Esther Brooke, Aug 26, 2006.

1. ### Esther BrookeMember

United States
Hi there,
I'm always stumped by this. Is "deux milliard de dollars," two million dollars? Or is "milliard," a billion? I'm leaning toward a billion and that's what my dictionary says, but I just want to make sure. Thanks.

2. ### MonsieurAquiloneSenior Member

Auckland
NZ - English
Yes, it is a billion.

3. ### Esther BrookeMember

United States

4. ### Cath.S.Senior Member

Bretagne, France
français de France
Quite, and a million dollars would be un million de dollars.

5. ### RuKSenior Member

Outside Paris
English/lives France
The question I always ask myself is whether the billion is a million million -- ie 1,000000,000,000 (by analogy: a thousand is a hundred hundreds, a million is a thousand thousands) or whether it is just three zeros on from a million.

6. ### OlivierGSenior Member

Toulouse, France
France / Français
It seems to depend on whether you are in the US or in England:
In the United States and France, a billion is a thousand millions which means that it is a number followed by nine zeros. However, in Great Britain and Germany, a billion is a million millions, which would be a number followed by twelve zeros. So be careful when you say a billion!

Source : http://www.thursdaysclassroom.com/03aug00/really_big_numbers.html

7. ### brookterSenior Member

United Kingdom
Unfortunately (because the British system is more logical - c,a va de soi....), that hasn't really been true for many years, in the UK at least.

American usage has long crept in and become the default and even HM Gov't uses 10^9 as a billion. Although some of us are old enough to remember when the world was young and you could really buy something with a billion pounds....

Regards

David

8. ### TresleySenior Member

Yorkshire / United Kingdom
British English
'Milliard' always causes problems. If you translate it as 'one thousand million' every English speaker will know what you mean.

If you translate it as a 'billion', then people start asking themselves 'which billion'? - US billion or a normal billion?

9. ### eclypseSenior Member

UK
english
So to sum it up, is it:

1.000.000.000
UK Thousand million
US Billion
FR Milliard

1.000.000.000.000
UK Billion
US Million millions
FR ?

Please correct me if I got this wrong, otherwise, what is the FR translation of the UK billion ??

This is quite confusing !!!

11. ### FAC13Senior Member

English, UK
A lot has changed since August then

12. ### brogletSenior Member

London
English - England
The English/US number names are all shown in:

where you can also discover what a googol is ...

13. ### ariotosMember

Spain/Spanish France/French
But how do you translate into British English "Des milliards de libres"? You can't use billion because in England that means 1+12 zeros. Can you say "Thousands of millions of pounds"?

Thanks

14. ### LaürenarSenior Member

Paris
France, français
There are ways to express big numbers in French : here's an extract from the wikipedia about big numbers. Even if the biggest numbers are barely never named this way.

Formation des noms en -llion

Le système de Nicolas Chuquet consiste à faire suivre les préfixes bi-, tri-,... du suffixe -llion, pour former les noms d'unité successifs. Dans le système original, qui correspond à l'échelle longue, chaque unité vaut 10^6 fois l'unité précédente. On a donc, de manière régulière:

1 mi-llion 10^6 = 1 000 000^1
2 bi-llion 10^12 = 1 000 000^2
3 tri-llion 10^18 = 1 000 000^3
4 quadri-llion 10^24 = 1 000 000^4
5 quinti-llion 10^30 = 1 000 000^5
6 sexti-llion 10^36 = 1 000 000^6
7 septi-llion 10^42 = 1 000 000^7
8 octi-llion 10^48 = 1 000 000^8
9 noni-llion 10^54 = 1 000 000^9
10 deci-llion 10^60 = 1 000 000^10

I know there also is a system based on the 'lliard' suffix like Milliard (Trilliard...)

15. ### StaarkaliSenior Member

Are you sure you are French? How could you possibly believe that a billion is what you quoted? A one followed by nine zeros is a milliard in French.

That is true. I will add that there is indeed the same system for "lliard", it's pretty simple: "lliard" = 10^3 "llion"

that gives us the complete table (in French):

million 10^6
milliard 10^9
billion 10^12
billiard 10^15
trillion 10^18
trilliard 10^21
etc...

16. ### clairetSenior Member

London & Bordeaux
England & English (UK version)
As Brookter said originally, it has long ceased to be the normal understanding in the UK that a billion is a million million. Any time newspapers or other media talk about a billion they mean a thousand million.

17. ### brogletSenior Member

London
English - England
as clairet says, billions of pounds in modern BE would normally be understood as 'thousands of millions of pounds' but if it were important to avoid ambiguity you could certainly use the latter, which is perfect English

18. ### orlando09Senior Member

France, PACA
English (England)
At the risk of being repetitive, this is definitely the case. I suspect it originates with the media (or perhaps the government) wanting to be able to make things exciting by being able to talk about "billions" being spent on something (as there is rarely cause for old-fashioned British billions - a US trillion - to be referred to). Or it could just be the US influence. Or just that "billion"is quicker to say/write than a thousand million (and no one has ever heard of a milliard outside of dictionaries). Pretty much nobody now uses the million million version of a billion.

19. ### StaarkaliSenior Member

I would definitively go for the US influence, for me it appears as the most obvious.

20. ### MayetteMember

french
Hi, How do you translate and write "milliard" in UK? we use to write it as below: M with 2 line up. The context: I want to explain that the AUCHAN group turn over is 40 "milliards"

Thank you!

21. ### mec_américainSenior Member

Texas
US, English
Fun, too, how we swap commas and decimals.

1,000,000,000 in the US
1.000.000.000 in France

\$1.50 here would be E1,50 (sorry I don't know where the euro symbol is and right, I know the Euro is worth more than the dollar).

22. ### brogletSenior Member

London
English - England
modern UK usage is to use 'billion' to mean the American billion. The big British billion (= US trillion) is sadly on the verge of extinction

Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
23. ### MayetteMember

french
Ok thank you, but how do the UK WRITE "billion" shortened?
You know, we write is as below in France: for example 40 million is 40 M, or 40 M with a line at the top and 40 milliards is: 40 M with a double line at the top...I'd like to write it, but not all the "billion" word...shortened...

Brittany, NW France
English (Midlands UK)

Really? And where on earth do you find that on your keyboard?

I'd put Bn. "£72 Bn."

25. ### MayetteMember

french

On my teacher's blackbords!

That's the shortered I've seen during my studies...certainly not a useful code; when I say "we" use to write it like below...it means just...on the University blackbord...!

26. ### Krom le BarbareMember

French
Désolé, je viens de passer le bac S, spécialité Maths, et cette phrase m'a choqué.
A thousand is ten hundreds!