Is that M for Thousand and MM because that Million, or K because that thousand and also M because that Million? I’m questioning for a friend. posted by Darrel Lamb, CPCU, AFSB


You are watching: Why does k stand for thousand

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If you confused around the letter designations that stand because that thousands and also millions, you’re not alone. And also it’s not your fault. In fact, it’s one of our most frequently asked questions. Here’s why you’re confused and also what to do around it.

Western world has had actually two powerful influences — the legacies of the Greeks and also the Romans, and also there is frequently conflict. The Greeks would refer to the god that the sea as Poseidon, whereby the Romans would contact him Neptune. Because that the Romans, the god that wine would be Bacchus, and for the Greeks it would certainly be Dionysus. These differences lug themselves into plenty of parts of our culture, consisting of financial analysis.As a young banker in the mid-80s, ns learned what had been taught for countless decades before, that we abbreviate thousands in our analysis with a letter M. If we want to represent millions, we would show that as MM. For this, we must credit the Romans. M is the Roman character for thousand and MM is meant to convey one thousand-thousand — or million. To take it further; one billion would be shown as $1MMM or one-thousand million.However, reality be known, if there were an old Roman here and we asked that to translate our usage of roman inn numerals, we would uncover that technically MM means two thousand and also MMM way three thousand, so there are flaws in this tradition. This reminds me the the old joke around an ancient Roman that goes right into a bar, holds up 2 fingers in a peace sign to the bartender and also says, “Five beers, please.”Wait a minute, girlfriend say. I understand I have actually seen work posted that pay $50K, and also K is supposed to was standing in for thousand. And you would be correct, thanks to the Greeks. K comes from the Greek native kilo which method a thousand. The Greeks would likewise show million together M, brief for Mega. So if we stay regular with the Greek abbreviations, climate billion would certainly be displayed as a letter G (Giga). Think that your computer expressing bytes of memory together kilobyte, megabyte or gigabyte. However, as soon as it comes to billion, we don’t really watch G or MMM as the abbreviation because that billion. We are an ext likely to check out a headline the reads the federal government spent $60B ~ above a new project. They room using B because that billion. What deserve to I say? B because that billion isn’t Greek or Roman; that is just the very first letter of words billion. So lot for consistency.I observed a headline recently in The everyday Journal of business that read the new downtown write-up office to be to be constructed for $89M. In the world of bookkeeping and jae won analysis, the reads $89 thousand dollars, but we understand from context that the headline writer meant $89 million dollars. Us sometimes need to code switch and also use context to identify what the author is telling us. I referenced the 2021 linked Press Stylebook used by the majority of journalists to view if the overview would weigh in on how to abbreviate thousands or million. When writing, the guide advises, use figures only for anything much less than a million, yet spell the end “million,” “billion,” and also ‘trillion” for numbers that 1 million or greater, such as 2.4 billion. Furthermore, linked Press recommends abbreviating millions together “M” and also billions together “B” in headlines.Agents will additionally commonly watch us communicate M together thousands as soon as we quote surety prices or agent commissions. Because that example, the standard class B price starts in ~ $25/M for the an initial $100M; climate $15/M because that the following $400M; climate $10/M for the following $2MM. Those rates are expressed per thousand and also the MM denotes millions. Likewise, we may quote you a solitary and accumulation contractor heat of authority. The line may be expressed, because that instance, together $5MM single and $15MM aggregate. If you are an certified dealer or a contractor, you may have actually seen an email from her surety underwriter that says something like, “The customer should rise their bank line to $1MM.” friend now understand that year of tradition have actually trained united state to display one million dollars this way.While the areas of accounting, banking and finance have embraced the roman inn tradition, other fields such as computer programming and the high-tech market have embraced Greek-influenced abbreviations. As we mix ours traditions, it periodically becomes daunting to know what someone intends come convey to express thousands or millions in an abbreviation.

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That is one imperfect world.At Old Republic Surety we look for to provide you transparency and clarity in our communications. If you watch an abbreviation the is confuse or unclear, please reach the end to your neighborhood underwriter or branch for clarification, also if friend are simply asking because that a friend.