Glossary of Terms
Like any industry, ours uses a variety of terms. If you want to find out what they mean, you are in the right place! Simply click on a letter to see its list of terms. If the term you are looking for isn't listed in our glossary feel free to contact us so that we may help you as well as add it to our list.
Short scale is the English translation of the French term "échelle courte", which designates a system of numeric names in which the word billion means a thousand millions.
For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Great Britain uniformly used the long scale, while the United States of America used the short scale, so the two systems were often (and accurately) referred to as "British" and "American" usage, respectively. However, by the end of the 20th century almost all English-speaking countries had universally adopted the short scale, so the phrases "British usage" and "American usage" are now misleading.
Both systems have been used in France at various times in history, but the French have now settled with the long scale, in common with most other European languages.