Q&A #4053

Name for 3 zeroes

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From: Pat Ballew (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 04, 2000 at 17:43:14
Subject: Re: Name for 3 zeroes

I really have nothing to add to Gail's answer, but I did want to try to give a view of why others may have had trouble coming up with an answer, and why you should not feel at all guilty that you did not have a word at the tip of your tongue. There is no consistent math term for this, and the term "period" is predominantly used only in English speaking countries to the best of my knowledge. Here in Japan they often use a "period" of ten-thousand, and rates on cars prices or home rentals are often posted as 45 and then a symbol that means 10,000 yen, indicating some unit of rent is 450,000 yen a year or something. This was also common in the later Greek period when a myriad went from representing an uncountably large number (as it still does sometimes in current English) to a number for ten-thousand. As long as this was the last great number, new huge numbers were expressed in units of myriads (and even Shakespeare use "millions" in place of "large uncounted numbers"). The amazing thing is that the language and the culture change so frequently that new words are popping up all the time, and some become widespread, others are local use only, others drop from existence after lasting for a century or more. The word "Chaos" as a math term is only about 30 years old for example, and seems to be know world wide. A Kite is a name for a geometric object that is considered very standard by classroom teachers in America, and came into being around 1900, but is almost totally unknown in non-English speaking nations (in fact John Conway just recently suggested the term strombus for this geometric shape and is planning to use the term in a couple of upcoming books). So that is why it is so hard to give an answer to a question like "what is the name for ....". The answer depends on who you ask and when you ask. Thanks for writing, my apologies if I gave way more than you cared to know about this topic. -Pat Ballew, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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