Word Origin & History
mid-14c., from O.Fr. million (late 13c.), from It. millione (now milione), lit. "a great thousand," augmentative of mille "thousand," from L. mille. Used mainly by mathematicians until 16c. India, with its love of large numbers, had names before 3c. for numbers well beyond a billion. The ancient Greeks
had no name for a number greater than ten thousand, the Romans for none higher than a hundred thousand. "A million" in Latin would have been decies centena milia, lit. "ten hundred thousand." Million to one as a type of "long odds" is attested from 1761.