Martin Brown wrote: >quasi wrote: >> RichD wrote: >> >>> Yesterday, I was on a college shuttle bus. The driver >>> was telling a passenger about the alumni donors, that >>> you have to give a billion $ to get your name on a >>> monument; "Do you know how much is a billion? >>> It's about a hundred million" >>> >>> Are bus drivers allowed to vote? This explains much. >> >> In the UK, a billion _is_ equal to 100 million. > >Utter rubbish - that is something daft we tell stupid >Americans.
Actually, it seems that we Americans (stupid or not) have managed to get the UK to change _their_ usage (at least officially) to match ours.
>Milliard was the old English word for modern billion. > >A UK billion was a long time ago a million millions but it >was fully redefined by Harold Wilson's government in a 1974 >parliamentary answer to match the US (aka international) >definition. US dictionaries do not seem to have kept pace >with this "recent" development.
Perhaps dictionaries match current UK common usage.
Laws don't change language usage -- people do.
>In fact both forms of billion existed in the UK up until the >mid 60's but from 1951 onwards the US definition was becoming >prevalent in the small circle of people that actually needed >to use such large numbers.
I suspect UK banks, international corporations, and government agencies needed greater consistency with their US counterparts.