Mega- (symbol M) is an SI prefix in the SI system of units denoting a factor of 106, 1,000,000 (one million).

For example, 1 MW (megawatt) = 1,000,000 watts = 1,000 kilowatts.

Confirmed in 1960, it comes from the Greek μέγας, meaning great.

Other common examples of usage

Square and cubic forms

As the SI-prefixes take precedence over exponents,

  • 1 Mm2 means one square megametre or the size of a square of 1,000,000 m × 1,000,000 m or 10^{12} m2 (and not 1,000,000 × a square metre or 10^{6} m²)
  • 1 Mm3 means one cubic megametre or the size of a cube of 1,000,000 m × 1,000,000 m × 1,000,000 m or 10^{18} m2 (and not 1,000,000 × a cubic metre or 10^{6} m3)


In computing, mega- can sometimes denote 1,048,576 (220) of information units (example: a megabyte, a megaword), but can denote 1,000,000 (106) of other quantities, for example, transfer rates: 1 megabit/s = 1,000,000 bit/s.

The prefix mebi- has been suggested as a prefix for 220 to avoid ambiguity, but is yet to be widely used.

See also


External links

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