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I've found answers on the web but also got conflicting answers from financial professionals (coworkers).

In metric, you'd use M (mega) for million, G (giga) for billion and T (tera) for trillion. The only financial specific similar abbreviation I can find is MM for million (financial notation, according to wikipedia).

What's the AP style (or equivalent) abbreviation for billion and trillion in a financial context?

Bonus: where would I find this information?

  • I think this is a duplicate question. Will try to did the earlier version when I'm at my laptop and not using the mobile interface. – Bradd Szonye Feb 1 '14 at 0:10
  • This is not an exact duplicate. Also, a financial news context is very different from a financial document context; reporting & news are pretty much by-definition for a broader audience than the materials & topics they cover. M for thousands and MM for millions would only ever be used in a context where the audience is proficient with financial jargon. – Patrick M Aug 25 '14 at 20:34
  • Why don't we use MY? It's less confusing than MM. – user98672 Nov 21 '14 at 23:00
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    Generally, Roman numeral MM stands for 2000. Look (quickly) in movies produced this year for the date MMXIV. I have heard of M with a bar over it for (some larger amount). – GEdgar Nov 22 '14 at 0:10
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    The "MM" was borrowed from Roman Numerals, though it does not follow the same conventions. Romans rarely needed very large numbers, so they never developed a consistent notation. At various points and places 1,000,000 was either (M), M̅, or (MM). The latter was hijacked by the financial industry as a way to denote "million" while the term "milliard" was still around (still officially used in the UK until '74). Milliard got the M̅. – Chris S Jul 1 '15 at 19:08
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I have seen million, billion, and trillion abbreviated as M, B, and T respectively. However, I would not bet that that is a standard abbreviation.

$3.1M settlement in Daniel McCormack priest sex abuse case for Chicago Archdiocese
Lawyers: $9M settlement for boy's cerebral palsy - Washington Times
JPMorgan reaches record $13B settlement with DOJ
Big win for BofA: Judge OKs $8.5B settlement with mortgage bondholders
China Now Owns a Record $1.317T of U.S. Government Debt

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    Right but I'm sure I've seen MM used for million in finance. It's kinda old-school so I was wondering if there were other old school abbreviations for billion etc. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MM – jcollum Jan 31 '14 at 22:31
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It certainly depends on your audience. I generally use $___MM, which was, and still is, often used by accountants and economists. Before "K" was adopted as the colloquial way of writing a thousand (i.e. $35k to mean $35,000), it was common to use "M" instead; "M" being the Roman Numeral for 1,000. As a result, "M" simply became shorthand for adding three zeros and thus "MM" became the shorthand for adding six zeros.

  • This is a very interesting etymology. Do you have any citation for this? – PV22 Apr 10 '17 at 15:01
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UK media tend to use m and bn for million and billion: "Grenier rejects £10m Newcastle switch", "Liberty Global buys Ziggo for €10bn". However, this usage is much less common in the US.

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    Ugh, that's awful, using m for million in a country where mL is a milliLiter (i.e. 1 / 1000 of a liter) – jcollum Jan 31 '14 at 22:32
  • @jcollum These conventions are also claimed to be in use in the US (see abbreviations.com). – Edwin Ashworth Jan 31 '14 at 23:42
  • @EdwinAshworth likewise for MM: abbreviations.com/serp.php?st=MM&o=2 – jcollum Feb 1 '14 at 3:02
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    @jcollum - but m cannot lead to any confusion, because it is preceded with a number with a currency sign. – Peter M. Jun 16 '16 at 20:00
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I have worked in equity markets for 20 years and poor abbreviations drive me crazy. Regretfully, until the USA goes metric there's going to continue to be problem with this.

Metric, engineering standards are useful:

CORRECT m = metre mm = millimetre

k = kilo (10^3, thousand) M = Mega (10^6, million) G = Giga (10^9, billion) T = Tera (10^12, trillion) P = Peta (10^15, quadrillion) E = Exa (10^15, ??)

In keeping with this I use: M = million B = billion T = trillion

etc...but it's not clear.

INCORRECT mm = very common. In many measures of materials..."million metric tonnes (tons)" is abbreviated to mmt. From that I see many analysts use mm to mean million. But it is a terrible abbreviation. I look forward to paying someone, some day, say $1mm. In response, I would cut 1 millimetre off a $1 bill and hand it to them... ;-)

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    It's a relevant comment but not really an answer to the question. – jcollum Nov 8 '14 at 19:33
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Sadly, dollars are not a metric base unit, so the use of metric prefixes would be entirely ad-hoc on your part. The usual way is to put the units on the axis of a graph or legend on a table, or early in a text description and leave it at that.

protected by tchrist Nov 21 '14 at 23:32

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