What’s in a number? Defining a Mamillion

The New York Times reports today that the Japanese debt has reached one Quadrillion Yen (1015 Yen).

Japan’s soaring national debt, already more than twice the size of its economy, has reached a new milestone, surpassing one quadrillion yen.

A paltry million is the numeral one followed by six zeros. A billion? Nine zeros. A trillion is getting up there: 12 zeros. But the mighty quadrillion has 15 of them. … 

A quadrillion is a million billion, putting it into the kind of language used by middle schoolers to describe really humongous sums, along with gazillion and bazillion.

Measuring any currency in quadrillions brings to mind the hyperinflation of Germany between the wars, or Zimbabwe in the last decade. But a country with a real currency?

It is such a big and unusual word, describing such a big and unusual number, that its use is inconsistent: Bloomberg News used quadrillion in the headline of an early story on Friday about Japan’s debt, but later in the day the stories and headlines referred to a “thousand trillion,” which is not nearly as much fun.

…  How much is a quadrillion? The entire human body is said to have just 100 trillion cells; it takes 10 of us to make a quadrillion. Jeff Bezos has a personal fortune of some $25 billion, allowing him to plunk down $250 million for The Washington Post, which is essentially how much money he might find by looking behind his sofa cushions. To get to a quadrillion dollars, however, we would have to have 40,000 Bezoses, or as many people as live in Prescott, Ariz.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, helpfully offered a few other ways to think about a quadrillion. “It would take you 31 million years to count to a quadrillion — one number per second, never sleeping,” he said in an e-mail, adding that “a quadrillion yen, stacked in 1,000-yen notes, would ascend 70,000 miles high.”

He also wrote, though it is not clear how he would know such a thing, that “the total number of all sounds and words ever uttered by all humans who have ever lived is about 100 quadrillion.”

Numbers from 103 (Thousand) to 10123 (Quadragintillion) with the exponent increasing in steps of 3 and then upto 10603 (Ducentillion) in exponent steps of 30 and then upto 103003 (Milillion) in exponent steps of 300 have been named.

10100 is a Googol and 10Googol is a Googolplex.

But I cannot find a name for the relatively simple concept of one million raised to the power of one million.

A Zillion is undefined but language still needs such a word for a very large indeterminate number. Gazillion is often used instead of Zillion. The word “Million” itself is thought to have come about to represent a “Large Thousand” (from mille = thousand). A million raised to the power of itself would quite definitely be a Large Million.

So I propose a word to represent a “Large Million”, the mother of all millions,  a Ma Million

Mamillion = Millionmillion = 1,000,0001,000,000

Considering the magnitude of the current Japanese debt, it will be some time before the debt of the whole world reaches a Mamillion in whatever currency one cares to choose!.

Tags: , ,


%d bloggers like this: