The Abbreviation for Billion: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Are you looking for ways to abbreviate the word billion? In this article, we’ll dig into everything about the word billion. We’ll define the word, offer synonyms, and explain abbreviations for the word billion. We’ll look at several examples where the word billion is used in a sentence and show why its abbreviation is sometimes used instead of the whole word.

Let’s dig in!

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How Do You Abbreviate Billion?

Billion

Noun

Billion refers to 1,000,000,000, the number one followed by nine zeros. Don’t confuse it with a million (six zeros) or a thousand (three zeros). 

There are various ways of abbreviating billion:

  • B
  • Bn
  • Bil.


B is the abbreviation that is most widely used for the sake of consistency. Notably, some people may choose to stick to
Bn, and it’s always important to select one abbreviation, so that the reader does not get mixed up. Many organizations offer a style guide so that all employees or students can use consistent terminology and abbreviations. 

When to Abbreviate

In mathematics, formal writing, within the context of records, and under many other circumstances, the abbreviation may be used. 

For example:

The government released $2B to the Ministry of Health for the current financial year. $1B will go towards equipping hospitals with medicine, while $1B will be used to cover surgeries.                  

Banks usually use abbreviations. For example, they’ll use $1B instead of $1,000,000,000. This method is the most convenient way to notate large amounts of money. Similarly, the abbreviation is widely used in the press. It’s more concise to use an abbreviation instead of repeating the nine zeros, especially in a headline.

For example:

The government allocated $5,000,000,000 for the project, with a budget of $3,000,000,000 for equipment and $2,000,000,000 for salary.

The text lacks clarity, since large numbers distract the reader from the content. 

It’s rare to find accountants recording the nine zeros in their financial analysis or profit and loss statements. Instead, you’ll see something more like this:

The government allocated $5 bil. for the project, with a budget of $3 bil. for equipment and $2 bil. for salary.

Like all other abbreviations, a billion is often abbreviated in short-form communication, like memos and emails. It’s common to see large numbers abbreviated between colleagues to save space and add clarity. 

When a typographical error occurs while recording the nine zeros, it alters the meaning of the text significantly. An abbreviation may help to avoid this problem.  

How to Write Billion

According to Wikipedia, the term milliard can also be used to refer to one billion, though its use in English is uncommon.

Normally, there is no space between the number and the letter B. 

For example:

1B trees will be planted to protect the earth against global warming.

A billion can be used in its plural form—as billionswhere the number is uncountable or unspecified.

For example:

Billions of stars were shining.

In the next ten years, billions of dollars will probably go towards funding the education budget. 

However, where the word billion is preceded immediately by a number, the plural form billions should not be used. For example, this road costs $10 billion to build.

Energy Industry

Natural gas production and trade is measured in billion cubic meters of natural gas. In this industry, billion cubic meters is abbreviated as bcm. This measurement may be applied to represent energy content.  

What Does Billion Mean?

Wikipedia defines a billion as either one thousand million (1,000,000,000) in American English, or one million million (1,000,000,000,000) in British English. The United Kingdom officially switched to the American/French definition in 1974, but you’ll still come across the secondary definition on occasion. 

In scientific notation, a billion is written as 1 × 10^9. The metric prefix giga means 1,000,000,000 times the base unit, and its symbol is G. 

Synonyms for Billion


Examples of the Word in Context

“The United States is intensifying its trade fight with the European Union over aircraft subsidies, proposing new tariffs on EU goods worth $4 billion.” 

—CNN

“The U.S. has sustained 250 weather and climate disasters since 1980, where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2019).”

—National Centers for Environmental Information

“The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major forest restoration effort with a goal of planting a billion trees across the planet.”

—The Nature Conservancy

“With movie ticket prices increasing and the resurgence of franchises like ‘Star Wars,’ films earning over $1 billion worldwide may become commonplace.”

—Insider.com

“Just before the plunge to $3,000, bitcoin was priced at $6,385 on Nov. 10 when it accumulated $3.70 billion in 24-hour exchange volume…”

—CoinDesk.com

“Billion cubic meters of natural gas (bcm) is a unit of energy, specifically natural gas production and distribution.”

—University of Calgary

Examples of Abbreviations in Headlines

“Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks of 100b dollars investment in India” 

—Business World

“Argentina to delay payments on $9bn in dollar-denominated debt”

—The Financial Times

“With $4B food delivery acquisition, Korea poised to enter upper tier of startup hubs”

—Tech Crunch

 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,000,000,000
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billion_cubic_metres_of_natural_gas
  3. https://writingexplained.org/english-abbreviations/billion
  4. https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/plant-a-billion/
  5. https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/15/with-4b-food-delivery-acquisition-korea-poised-to-enter-upper-tier-of-startup-hubs/
  6. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/02/economy/us-tariffs-on-eu/index.html
  7. https://www.ft.com/content/d18ab022-235d-11ea-b8a1-584213ee7b2b
  8. https://dailybw.com/2019/02/22/saudi-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-talks-of-100b-dollars-investment-in-india/
  9. https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Bcm
  10. https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-trading-volume-tops-11-billion-for-first-time-in-nearly-a-year
  11. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/
  12. https://www.insider.com/highest-grossing-movies-box-office-2017-1

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