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[tril-yuh n] /ˈtrɪl yən/
noun, plural trillions (as after a numeral) trillion.
a cardinal number represented in the U.S. by 1 followed by 12 zeros, and in Great Britain by 1 followed by 18 zeros.
amounting to one trillion in number.
Origin of trillion
1680-90; < French, equivalent to tr(i)- tri- + (m)illion million
Related forms
trillionth, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trillion
  • In other words, it could authorize a trillion dollar coin.
  • Dogs can identify chemical traces in the range of parts per trillion.
  • The human brain may contain up to one trillion neurons.
  • There could be a trillion or more comets in the deep cold beyond the fringes of our solar system.
  • Elliptical galaxies contain many older stars, up to one trillion, but little dust and other interstellar matter.
  • By comparison, typical galaxies contain ten million to a hundred trillion stars.
  • So sensitive is the test derived from the proteins that it can detect amounts as slight as one part per trillion.
  • Education is a billion-dollar tail on a trillion-dollar dog.
  • The buildup of this free time among the world's educated population-maybe a trillion hours per year-is a new resource.
  • Does the mysterious abundance of matter and energy which remains elusive, need be found by trillion-dollar particle accelerators.
British Dictionary definitions for trillion


the number represented as one followed by twelve zeros (1012); a million million
(formerly, in Britain) the number represented as one followed by eighteen zeros (1018); a million million million
(often pl) an exceptionally large but unspecified number
preceded by a or a numeral
  1. amounting to a trillion: a trillion stars
  2. (as pronoun): there are three trillion
Derived Forms
trillionth, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from French, on the model of million
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trillion

1680s, from French trillion (late 15c.), from tri- (see tri-) + (m)illion. Cf. billion. In the U.S., the fourth power of a thousand (one thousand billion, 1 followed by 12 zeroes); in Great Britain, the third power of a million (one million billion, 1 followed by 18 zeroes), which is the original sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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trillion in Technology

In Britain, France, and Germany, 10^18 or a million cubed.
In the USA and Canada, 10^12.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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