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If someone who has a million of a particular currency is called a millionaire, and someone with a billion is called a billionaire what do you call someone with a thousand?

I realise that nowadays this would mean almost everyone, so the word wouldn't be used much. But in the past owning a thousand dollars would have been more notable so perhaps there would have been a word in common usage.

  • 3
    I don't think dollars existed back when $1000 could have been meaningfully described as a "fortune" (if the currency had existed). Even if we think of £1000 instead, we're probably going back so far we're talking about a time when very rich people measured their wealth in acres of land rather than units of currency. – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '14 at 13:05
  • I'd think of a xillionaire (from Greek) or a kilonaire (from Latin). The first seems more in line with millionaire and billionaire. – oerkelens Sep 19 '14 at 13:30
  • @FumbleFingers Ok, I didn't know enough about American monetary history to know dollars haven't been around that long: I've amended my question to just say "pounds". Did you have any reference to backup the idea that wealth tended not to measured in terms of money back then. – Urbycoz Sep 19 '14 at 14:02
  • @oerkelens Kilo- is from Greek, too (same word, just taken through the machinery of French). The Latin would be, erm, milliaire, from mīlle ‘thousand’. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 19 '14 at 14:10
  • @Urbycoz: From Wikipedia: Banking, in the modern sense of the word, can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy (the 1400s) - at which time £1 was worth £500-£5000 in today's money, depending on how you interpret "worth". But hardly anyone had any actual "money" in those days. Bartering/payment in kind would have been the norm for the peasantry, and the "gentry" owned everything anyway (including the peasants themselves! :) – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '14 at 16:17
4

I don't know of any such word, and I would expect that it doesn't exist: nevermind the currency, 1000 is just not that large a number. It's only 10 times bigger than 100, so even if you've never seen 1000 of something all in big pile, you can easily imagine what it would look like - it'd be 10 piles of a 100 things.

A million, on the other hand, is so large a number that our everyday experience simply doesn't give us a good handle on it: it's a thousand thousands, and that's an awful lot of piles. Hence the desire to categorize those who hold that much wealth as something special, something worthy of its own word (i.e. apart from "wealthy").1

I think that even if you find a time, place, and currency in which 1000 represented a lot of wealth2, the number itself wouldn't be remarkable enough to warrant coining a word for it.

1An interesting side note is that in places where the currency has inflated to the point where a million is an everyday occurrence, "millionaire" still means someone wealthy: the term has become divorced from the number.
2Hint: 100 years won't do it, neither with dollars nor with pounds.

3

Actually, there is! And it isn't a humorous coinage, believe it or not.

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

n. thousandaire (after [millionaire])
One who has a thousand pounds.

First recorded use: The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, 1896:

...to prevent their possessor from ever becoming even a thousandaire.

Note that I have bolded "pounds" in the definition. The Eclectic Mag. was a British magazine, and since the entry is marked as 'apparently an isolated use', it means that the OED can only say it is used in the context of the GBP.

However, this may not be the case:

n. thousandaire
Somebody whose wealth is greater than one thousand dollars, or the local currency. (emph. mine)YourDictionary

Origin: Modeled on existing words such as millionaire using thousand.

0

The fact that distinguishes a millionaire from someone who isn't is that the millionaire has capital. He doesn't have to work for money but he can live on the return of his capital.

The terms bourgeoisie or middle class both refer to people who do own more than the clothes that they carry. They own some assets but who don't own enough to life from returns of their assets.

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    That may be true, but it does not answer the question, which makes no reference to any cultural connotations of being a millionaire or billionaire. – choster Sep 19 '14 at 14:46
  • @choster The reason we have words like these is because of the corresponding cultural relevance. There's not as much interesting as someone with a thousand dollars; if you don't talk about them as a distinguished class, there's no need for a word to describe them. – Barmar Dec 31 '14 at 18:43
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Neither millionaire nor billionaire, reflect actual cash in hand, but rather to the net wealth of the individual.

The common usage word for a 'thousanaire' is 'poor'

  • I think "millionaires" (usually) includes the multimillionaires, so I would think that "thousanaire" would include the "multithousenaires". I would not call everybody with a net worth of less than 1 million dollars poor. (Once I am worth several millions myself, I may change my mind about that...) – oerkelens Sep 19 '14 at 13:28
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    -1 That's just dodging the question. Whether the person physically has the money or technically is worth that amount money is irrelevant to what I am asking. Also we'd only call someone with £1000 "poor" nowadays. 100 years ago, that would be considered a fair wealth. – Urbycoz Sep 19 '14 at 13:55
  • Apparently there are now about half a million "property millionaires" in London. And that's just in pounds sterling for the house value - it would probably be at least a million if we converted pounds to dollars and included all other assets. These days, it's getting so millionaires are two a penny in London (and presumably a dime a dozen in New York! Money ain't what it used to be! :) – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '14 at 16:29

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