What isshort scale

Short scale is a numbering system used for numbers greater than one million in many European nations. It is commonly used in the United States, Canada, and modern British English. On the other hand, long scale is used in many other countries in Europe, where a billion is a million million. Long scale numbers are found in ancient British texts and were widely known as the British numbering system until the mid-1970s.

The short scale system uses a thousand-fold increase for each new term. For instance, a million is a thousand thousand, while a billion is a thousand million. In contrast, the long scale system uses a million-fold increase for each new term, where a million is a unit consisting of a thousand thousands, and a billion is a unit consisting of a million millions.

It’s essential to understand this difference, especially when dealing with international business and finance. For instance, misinterpreting a “billion-dollar deal” in the short scale system could cause confusion with a “trillion-dollar deal” in the long scale system, which is a thousand times larger.


What countries use the short scale numbering system?

Many English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia, use the short scale numbering system.

What countries use the long scale numbering system?

The long scale numbering system is prevalent in many European countries, including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

Why do different countries use different numbering systems?

The short and long scale numbering systems originated from different interpretations of the Latin prefixes “bi-” (meaning “two”) and “tri-” (meaning “three”). Different countries adopted different systems, leading to the different numbering systems used today.


Understanding the short scale and long scale numbering systems is essential, especially in the fields of international business and finance. Being aware of the differences between these two systems can help prevent confusion and potential financial losses.

- Advertisement -
Latest Definition's

ϟ Advertisement

More Definitions'