What is the largest one-syllable number?
January 21, 2015 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Twelve is the largest number whose English name has one syllable. I'm wondering what the largest number is whose name in some spoken language has one syllable.
posted by sen to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd disagree that the largest number in English with a one-syllable name is twelve. "Lakh" is an accepted English word, though used mainly in South Asia, and is the same as 100,000.
posted by peacheater at 12:17 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


In Japanese 万 man means "ten thousand".
chou means "trillion".
gai means 10^20. (but technically "gai" is two syllables.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:18 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


A now that I think about it, "crore" is also one syllable, and means 10,000,000.
posted by peacheater at 12:19 PM on January 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Crore is a good starting bid, though like lakh it's not exactly a cardinal number in regular usage, but a multiplier. (And as peacheater says, both are English words that happen to be used in a specific region.)
posted by holgate at 12:22 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


In Japanese 万 man means "ten thousand".
兆 chou means "trillion".
垓 gai means 10^20. (but technically "gai" is two syllables.)


These are all two syllables.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:26 PM on January 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


"chou" is only one syllable. (It 's a lengthened vowel, but still one syllable.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:28 PM on January 21, 2015


"Alf" in Arabic (أَلْف) means one thousand.
posted by Corduroy at 12:56 PM on January 21, 2015


These are not as large as others pointed out already, but I hope they're still acceptable to mention.

English score = 20
French mille = 1000
posted by tykky at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2015


The Japanese numbers mentioned above are only one syllable each in Mandarin, and there are some much larger (but very rarely used) numbers as well:

wàn 萬 10^4
yì 億 10^8
zhào 兆 10^12
jīng 京 10^16
gāi 垓 10^20
zǐ 秭 10^24
ráng 穰 10^28
gōu 溝 10^32
jiàn 澗 10^36
zhèng 正 10^40
zài 載 10^44
posted by bradf at 1:01 PM on January 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


French mille or Spanish mil are both 1000, if y'all are going to fight over the Indian and Japanese examples' legitimacy.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:01 PM on January 21, 2015


The largest I can think of in English is gross (a dozen dozen = 144)
posted by AndrewStephens at 1:09 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, there's always mole: 6 x 1023
posted by ocherdraco at 1:12 PM on January 21, 2015 [25 favorites]


Another Ridiculously Large Chinese Number™:

極 - jí - 1048 - One Quindecillion [source]

Or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
posted by steveminutillo at 1:56 PM on January 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Of Languages and Numbers catalogs numbering systems in over 100 languages.

From their list of fictional languages: 109 in Vulcan is moh and 106 in Klingon is ’uy’. (I'm not actually certain that's one syllable, since I don't know Klingon.)
posted by mbrubeck at 2:35 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are all two syllables.

Maybe two morae, rather than two syllables?
posted by topynate at 4:05 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


So far it seems like jí has it! Who knew you could express so much with so little?
posted by sen at 7:52 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


peacheater: Lakh
That is the most bizarrely correct, obscure piece of trivia I've heard in a while.
peacheater: A now that I think about it, "crore" is also one syllable, and means 10,000,000.
And it got topped in ten seconds.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:41 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Former printer, current stationery geek can't resist chiming in with ream = 500 (sheets of paper).
posted by Jesse the K at 7:59 AM on January 22, 2015


Nah, that's not a number; it's a measure. If we allow "ream", then "ton"=2000 (lb). Or "universe"=~10^22 (stars).
posted by IAmBroom at 8:21 AM on January 22, 2015


Just wait for them to say their number then say "more".
posted by w0mbat at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


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