As in:

He broke the world record of 14.05

I tried searching Wikipedia and ended up with centisecond. It sounds so scientific. What is it called in colloquial English?

  • 5
    It's a tenth or hundredth of a second, not a percent – simchona Aug 28 '12 at 5:54
  • 3
    He broke the world record of fourteen and five hundredths of a second. – Jim Aug 28 '12 at 5:58
  • I might like to add that I frequently hear uninformed people refer to the smallest shown unit as "milliseconds", be it in reality a hundredth or a thousandth. I myself used to make this mistake fairly often. – Ledda Jan 6 '14 at 6:20

Centisecond, while valid, is an extremely rarely used unit, as is hectometer or decaliter.

You either measure "hundredths of second" or tens of milliseconds. In engineering, milliseconds are preferable. In sports hundredths are the defacto standard; as Jim said: fourteen and five hundredths of a second.

  • 3
    Not convinced... OK, commentators often get it wrong, but when Usain Bolt won the 100m they refered to his time as nine point six three seconds - beating Yohan Blake by twelve hundredths of a second – Andrew Aug 28 '12 at 10:55
  • 1
    @Andrew: The "point X X" spoken notation is very common (probably quite more common than "hundredths") when presenting the actual result, but it isn't naming the unit. OP's question was "what is it called?" and in sport it's called "hundredths" or "hundredths of second" and nothing else, and that's what's used when the unit needs to be named: "Faster by a couple hundredths of second", not "faster by point oh few" or "by a few point oh ones". – SF. Aug 28 '12 at 11:32
  • fair point... I was focussing on the quoted text, rather than the question :) – Andrew Aug 28 '12 at 12:07
  • deciliter is used very commonly in science and medicine. Many blood test results are reported in (m)g/dl. – anongoodnurse Jan 6 '14 at 4:18
  • All right. I changed that to decaliters which really seems to be totally obscure. (by the way, milliliters is more common by an order of magnitude. Probably because you buy 100ml of vodka, not 1dl :) – SF. Jan 6 '14 at 6:26

I don't know anyone who would call this a five centiseconds... 50 milliseconds maybe.

It would normally be pronounced fourteen point oh-five seconds.

Edited to add: Differences maybe given in hundredths of a second.


Whatever you wish to call the unit (I normally call it a hundredth of a second), you seem to be confused about measurement. The record is 14.05 seconds, or if you prefer, 1,405 centiseconds/hundredths of a second.


hundredths of a second is = milliseconds

  • this answer is unclear, and more of a comment. Once you have earned enough reputation, you will be able to comment; otherwise please use links when answering to support your conclusions. – anongoodnurse Jan 6 '14 at 4:23
  • 2
    Huh, jeker? Where on earth have you heard that? Have you verified? – Kris Jan 6 '14 at 5:30
  • A millisecond is actually "1.unit of time: a unit of time equal to one thousandth of a second". – MrHen Jan 7 '14 at 17:47

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