Mega-

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For other uses, see Mega (disambiguation).

Mega is a unit prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of one million (106 or 1000000). It was confirmed for use in the International System of Units (SI) in 1960. Mega comes from the Greek μέγας megas, meaning "great".[1]

Other common examples of usage[edit]

Exponentiation[edit]

When units occur in exponentiation, such as in square and cubic forms, any size prefix is considered part of the unit, and thus included in the exponentiation.

  • 1 Mm2 means one square megametre or the size of a square of 1000000m by 1000000m or 1012m2, and not 1000000square metres (106 m2).
  • 1 Mm3 means one cubic megametre or the size of a cube of 1000000m by 1000000m by 1000000m or 1018 m3, and not 1000000cubic metres (106 m3)

Computing[edit]

In computing, mega may sometimes denote 1,048,576 (220) of information units (example: a megabyte, a megaword), but denotes 1000000 (106) units of other quantities, for example, transfer rates: 1megabit/s = 1000000bit/s. The prefix mebi has been suggested as a prefix for 220 to avoid ambiguity.

Prefix 1000m 10n Decimal English word Since[nb 1]
Name Symbol Short scale Long scale
yotta Y  10008  1024 1000000000000000000000000  septillion  quadrillion 1991
zetta Z  10007  1021 1000000000000000000000  sextillion  thousand trillion 1991
exa E  10006  1018 1000000000000000000  quintillion  trillion 1975
peta P  10005  1015 1000000000000000  quadrillion  thousand billion 1975
tera T  10004  1012 1000000000000  trillion  billion 1960
giga G  10003  109 1000000000  billion  thousand million 1960
mega M  10002  106 1000000             million 1960 (1873)
kilo k  10001  103 1000             thousand 1960 (1795)
hecto h  10002/3  102 100             hundred 1960 (1795)
deca da  10001/3  101 10             ten 1960 (1795)
 10000  100 1             one
deci d  1000−1/3  10−1 0.1             tenth 1960 (1795)
centi c  1000−2/3   10−2 0.01             hundredth 1960 (1795)
milli m  1000−1  10−3 0.001             thousandth 1960 (1795)
micro μ  1000−2  10−6 0.000001             millionth 1960 (1873)
nano n  1000−3  10−9 0.000000001  billionth  thousand millionth 1960
pico p  1000−4  10−12 0.000000000001  trillionth  billionth 1960
femto f  1000−5  10−15 0.000000000000001  quadrillionth  thousand billionth 1964
atto a  1000−6  10−18 0.000000000000000001  quintillionth  trillionth 1964
zepto z  1000−7  10−21 0.000000000000000000001  sextillionth  thousand trillionth 1991
yocto y  1000−8  10−24  0.000000000000000000000001  septillionth  quadrillionth  1991
  1. ^ The metric system was introduced in 1795 with several metric prefixes, of which, however, only six were adopted as SI prefixes by the 11th CGPM conference in 1960, whereas myria (ma, 104) and myrio (mo, 10-4) as well as double and demi were not adopted. In 1873, micro and mega were recommended by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The other dates relate to recognition by a resolution of the CGPM.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "[http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/00304790 mega-]". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]