Explained: Why K Is Used For Denoting Thousand Instead Of T?

Ever wondered, if ‘M’ denotes Million, ‘B’ denotes Billion then why is Thousand denoted with ‘K’ and not ‘T’? There’s a logical reason behind it. Read to know why thousand is abbreviated with ‘K’.

To know the reason behind the use of the letter ‘K’ for thousands, we need to dive into the history books. So the story behind this lies in ancient Greek culture. In Greek ‘Chilioi’ means thousand and the word ‘K’ was used for a thousand or a kilo. However, the word chilioi is a close translation of 1000 and stands for an unknown length of time rather than a literal thousand. 

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This is also attributed to a verse in the Holy Bible “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” Well, the Holy Bible has of course been translated multiple times. The reference to a thousand years in the translated modern English version of the Bible does not refer to a thousand years but it actually refers to an unknown period of time.

Much later, the Greek word ‘Chilioi’ was abbreviated to kilo by the French. Then came the metric system, which introduced the world, kilo as a unit of 1000. Soon, new terms such as kiloliter, kilogram, kilotonne, and so on were coined to refer to 1000. 

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As we all know, the Western world has been influenced a lot by the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, as a result of which, people all around the globe began abbreviating thousands with the letter ‘K’. So, now you know that’s how it all started…

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