Share this entry

Share this page

million

Line breaks: mil|lion
Pronunciation: /ˈmɪljən
 
/

Definition of million in English:

cardinal number (plural millions or (with numeral or quantifying word) same)

(a/one million)
1The number equivalent to the product of a thousand and a thousand; 1,000,000 or 106: a million people will benefit a population of half a million a cost of more than £20 million
More example sentences
  • Nearly half a million people could benefit from a new scheme aimed at reducing hospital waiting lists.
  • Between them they will buy more than a million tickets for thousands of shows.
  • In this way, it is estimated that some half a million people will be pushed off benefits.
1.1 (millions) The numbers from a million to a billion.
Example sentences
  • The report wrongly gave earnings and revenue numbers in billions rather than millions.
  • It also includes money, in the millions and billions.
  • Before European settlers arrived, gray wolves once roamed all over North America, their population in the millions.
1.2 (millions) Several million things or people: millions of TV viewers
More example sentences
  • It has cost that state multiple millions of dollars.
  • Although the discrepancy may not look large, it is likely to represent very significant sums of money when multiplied by millions of customers.
  • Multiply that by millions of digital photographers and you are talking about a lot of digital information.
1.3 informal An unspecified but very large number or amount of something: I’ve got millions of beer bottles in my cellar you’re one in a million
More example sentences
  • Influenza, whose genes evolve a million times faster than ours, is a master of adaptability.
  • Suddenly it's nearly Christmas and I still have a million and one things to do.
  • I have no idea where she is or what she's doing, and my mind is running at a million miles an hour.
1.4A million pounds or dollars: the author is set to make millions
More example sentences
  • They stand to lose millions in revenue following the discovery of one infected cow in Alberta in May this year.
  • Didn't they invest a few million into the company a few years ago?
  • I ran into a group of people who will pay big money - millions - to the person who solves their one problem.

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French, probably from Italian milione, from mille 'thousand' + the augmentative suffix -one.

More
  • In Latin mille means ‘a thousand’—as in mile and millennium (mid 17th century). In million, the thousand got multiplied by itself. This seems to have happened in Italian, where the word millione (now milione) was formed. In 1956 Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm enjoyed great success with the duet ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ from Cole Porter's High Society. The answer in the song is ‘I don't’, but the television company ITV found that they were in a small minority when they introduced the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in September 1998. Thousands have applied to be contestants and millions have been won; the show has given several catchphrases to the language, including ‘phone a friend’ and ‘ is that your final answer?’ The top prize in the British show is a million pounds, but the first millionaires had a thousand French francs. The poet Lord Byron wrote in a letter in 1816: ‘He is still worth at least 50-000 pds—being what is called here a “Millionaire” that is in Francs and such Lilliputian coinage, introducing the word to English.’

Phrases

gone a million

1
Australian /NZ informal (Of a person) completely defeated or finished.

look (or feel) (like) a million dollars

2
informal Look or feel extremely good.
Example sentences
  • This was all built on a Mac, naturally, and it looks like a million dollars in Safari.
  • This involves sometimes dressing up to the nines, doing grand things and looking like a million dollars.
  • Why bother, when Milan will always end up leaving you looking like a million dollars?

Derivatives

millionfold

1
adjective& adverb
Example sentences
  • The end result is that when the intensity is increased a millionfold we perceive the loudness to have increased by a factor of twelve.
  • It may drive us mad if we begin to think of public evils as millionfold evils.
  • By the turn of the eighteenth century, that estimate stood at 20,000,000,000 Earth radii - a millionfold increase.

millionth

2
ordinal number
Example sentences
  • Our opening statistic will perhaps change in the millionths of a percentage point, which will just make it even less catchy.
  • These particles - less than 10 millionths of a metre in size - lodge in the lungs when inhaled.
  • Their other prediction is that the quake sped up the rotation of the Earth by three millionths of a second per day.

Definition of million in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing