A meter measuring stick, which is one meter (39.37 inches) long, contains 100 centimeters. Comparatively, a centimeter is equal to one one-hundredth of a meter.
The word centimeter, which comes from the late 18th-century French word "centimetre," is derived from the Latin root "centum," meaning "hundred" and the Greek root "metron," meaning "measure." The meter became the standard measurement of length for the metric system, adopted first in France in the middle of the 19th century, then in many parts of the world in the later part of that century. The prefix "centi-," like others, was adopted to describe decimally smaller increments of a meter.