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Correct Abbreviation For Million: Finance, Science & Others

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Abbreviation for million
Abbreviation for million
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Abbreviation for million helps one to write million in short form in order to create more space for other things, but at some point, you keep wondering the correct shorthand for million as there are many out there.

There are different abbreviations for million and this makes one confused as to the correct abbreviation for the type of project you are using if for, be it in finance, years, science, or dollars.

Western civilization introduced us to two powerful numeric influences which are the Roman traditions and Greeks traditions and there is often conflict.

Bankers were taught for many decades that thousands in the analysis should be abbreviated with a letter M. While the abbreviation for million would be shown as MM.

The banking abbreviation for million should credit the Roman numeric tradition. M is the Roman numeral for thousand, while  MM is the Roman abbreviation for million (thousand-thousands ). Taking it further; the Roman abbreviation for billion (thousand million) would be shown as MMM.

However, the ancient Romans will often show MM to mean two thousand and MMM to mean three thousand, so there are always flaws in this numeric tradition.

Talking about the Greek numeric tradition, K is meant to be the abbreviation for thousand and K comes from the Greek word kilo which means a thousand. while M is the abbreviation for million, which is the short form for Mega.

So if we stay consistent with the Greek numeric abbreviations, billion would be abbreviated with a letter G which is the short form of Giga. Think of your memory card sizes of kilobyte, megabyte, and gigabyte.

However, in our day-to-day life, when it comes to billion, we don’t really see the Greek abbreviation G or the Roman abbreviation MMM as the abbreviation for billion. We are more likely to see a headline that reads Amazon spent $60B on a charity project.

What can we say? B for billion isn’t a Greek numeric abbreviation or Roman numeric abbreviation for billion; it is just the first letter of the word billion. So much inconsistency and confusion!

So in this article, we are going to explain to you the most common and correct abbreviation for million in different writing scenarios depending on your field, which include finance, science, years, or dollars.

Below are the most common abbreviations for million:

  • M (Greeks numeral ‘Mega’)
  • MM (Latin numeral ‘Mille Mille’)
  • m (the UK use)
  • Mill (English general use)

Abbreviation for million In Press

M is the most common abbreviation for million most used in the public press, informal writing, and by most people in the United States and around the world.

Example: Amazon spent $60M (Sixty million dollars) on a charity project.

However, In stories concerned mainly with money, company reports, and City page references to bids and deals, the press uses M as the abbreviation for million. While news headlines as distinct from stories in the business section, the press always writes million and billion in full.

Abbreviation for million in Finance

In fields like finance, The M letter is usually the abbreviation for thousand based on the Latin word “Mille”.  MM comes as the second most popular abbreviation for million which is used in the financial sector.

This means that MM is the value of  M multiplied by M (1,000 multiplied by 1,000),” which is equal to 1,000,000 (one million). The below diagram explains how the abbreviation is derived, as well as other symbols that are used in practice.

How MM is used
How MM is derived

The MM is also widely used in the oil and gas sector; it means “a thousand thousands” which is the abbreviation for million. Often the lower case is used. So, for example, a million Btu can be abbreviated with mmBtu.

NOTE: For currency and barrels of oil MM represents millions and M represents thousands.

Abbreviation for millions in accounting

The Roman numeral MM is frequently used in accounting to state that the figure used in presenting values (both financial and non-financial) are in millions. The MM abbreviation is commonly used in spreadsheets, accounting, and by economists.

The example below shows how it can be used in account analysis.

Financial us of latin numeral
Financial use of Latin numeral

The above image shows that the figure of net income and preferred dividends are stated as being $mm which means millions of dollars. While shares authorized values, and shares outstanding values are also described as mm which means millions of shares.

In the above image example, we purposely chose a piece of accounting analysis that comprised two different units, which are dollars and shares.

However, the use of two MM as an abbreviation for million is becoming less common in accounting. In the current finance and accounting settings, an analyst may want to use the Greek numeral symbols to represent numbers such as a lower case ‘k’ which means kilo in Greeks to denote thousands, and a capitalized M which means mega in Greeks to denote millions.

For example, $100k x 10 = $1M

When preparing account analysis or account statements, accountants will typically write a statement at the top of the income balance sheet stating the kind of numeral figure used.

Abbreviation for million in science and technology

In science and technology, the commonly used abbreviation for million is the Greek numeral.

That is why you will often see in memory card 2,000 bytes as 2kb (two kilobytes), 2 million bytes will be abbreviated as 2MB (two megabytes). In photographs, 2 million pixels will be abbreviated as 2MP (tw0 Megapixel).

While in energy, 2 million watts is abbreviated to 1MW or (two megawatts).

Abbreviate for million on resume

It is not recommended to use abbreviations while writing your resume, but if you feel the need the use the abbreviation for million on your resume, it is recommended to use the most commonly used abbreviation which is the capital letter M (mega).

For instance: “The company’s sales increased by $3M” with the help of my ideas.

Note: If you have enough space on your resume and you are unsure whether to use the abbreviation for million, write the full form: $5 million.

Abbreviation for million years

Writing the abbreviation for million years, the Greeks numeral is commonly used.

This means that “three million years”  is abbreviated as (3 myr)

While “three million years ago” is abbreviated as (3 ma)

Myr which stands for million years is widely used in fields such as Earth science and also cosmology. Myr can also be used with ‘mya’ (million years ago).

These abbreviations for m million years make a reference frame, one to a quantity, the other to a particular place in a year-numbering system ( that’s time before the present).

Where the small letter “myr” is seen in geology it is usually the capital letter “Myr”  which is a unit that means (Mega-years). In astronomy, it is usually “Myr” which means (Million years).

Abbreviation for million UK

The abbreviation for millions in the UK is usually different. Most other countries use the capital M to denote million, while the small letter m is the most commonly used abbreviation for million in the United Kingdom.

Example: “The British club spent approximately the total £50m in renovating their stadium”

Should you use abbreviations?

It is recommended that should not use abbreviations in academic or official writing. You can only use abbreviations in mathematics, physics, or science equations. It is also allowed to use abbreviations in accounting or financial spreadsheets for account statements or financial analysis.

Aside from that, you can only use abbreviations in informal scenarios like notes and unimportant communication where context exists.

I would also add that the context of the sentence should be able to add to the meaning of the abbreviation used.

CONCLUSION

While the fields of oil and gas, accounting, finance, and the banking sector have adopted the Roman numeral abbreviations, other fields such as science and technology including computer programming, and the high-tech industry have adopted Greek numeral abbreviations.

In the end, the abbreviation for million you use should be in line with the field in which you are writing. The use of MM always seemed silly to the layman (general public), but it is the standard in certain field areas.

Depending on the field area you are writing or working on, you should look up the standards in a style guide and use it. This will ensure that you will not put a hitch in the structure or flow of your work.

For instance, if everyone reading the field you are writing expects to see MM as the abbreviation for million, and you use M or Mil it may put a hitch in the structure or flow of your work.

If there isn’t any official standard, we recommend you use M or Mil as the abbreviation for million. And if you have enough space, just write the million in full and avoid using abbreviations. Using the whole word always removes confusion.

As we mix numeral traditions, it is often confusing to know the figure that is expressed through one’s chosen abbreviation for million. Truly this is an imperfect world.

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