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What does the prefix kilo mean?

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Quick Answer

According to Reference.com, the prefix "kilo" is a Greek combining form with French roots that means "thousand" within the nomenclature of the metric system. It is also used to form compound words dealing with scientific measurements.

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Full Answer

The prefix "kilo" is used to form the words "kilometer," "kilowatt," "kiloliter," "kilobyte," and "kilogram," among others. The unit symbol for "kilo" within the International System of Units is "k." "Kilo" was introduced by France into the metric system in 1799. Within the field of computer science, the prefix "kilo" means 2 to the 10th power, or 1024. This is almost the same as 10 cubed, or 1000.

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