Russia uses the short scale number-naming system.

Why is, then, "миллиард" used instead of "биллион"?

"Миллиард" (as opposed to "биллион") is used in the long scale number-naming system.

  • 3
    your question assumes that one language supposed to follow patterns of different language which is not true. Also, it's not that simple in English as well - youtube.com/watch?v=ZzoNUp9myqM
    – shabunc
    Jan 31, 2018 at 13:44
  • 1
    But it does follow English for most of big numerals, only falling out with "billion". And it is indeed interesting why we use short naming scale for all other big numbers, but not for billion.
    – Alissa
    Jan 31, 2018 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


As stated in wikipedia:

Слово «миллиард», имевшее вначале значение 1012, получило значение 109 (тысячи миллионов) в «Арифметике» Траншана (1558) и употреблялось во Франции в XIX веке наравне со словом «биллион».

In English:

The word "milliard", which initially had a value of 1012, acquired the value 109 (thousands of millions) in the Jean Trenchant's Arithmetics (1558) and was used in France in the 19th century on a par with the word "billion".

Russian language borrowed many words from the French language in those years.

  • it's my impression as well that it had been a borrowing from either French or German, by which Russian was heavily influenced Jan 31, 2018 at 10:43

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