Made up in 1920 by the nine-year-old Milton Sirrota (1911–1981), the nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner (1878–1955) who had asked Milton to think of a name for the hypothetical number of 10 to the 100th power. The word was first published in the book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940) by Kasner and fellow mathematician James R. Newman (1907–1966) (see the quotation below).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɡuː.ɡəl/, /ˈɡuː.ɡɒl/
- (General American) enPR: go͞o′gəl, go͞o′gŏl, IPA(key): /ˈɡu.ɡəl/, /ˈɡu.ɡɑl/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -uːɡəl
- Homophones: google, Google
googol (plural googols)
- (cardinal) The number , or ten to the power of a hundred. [from 1920.]
1940, Edward Kasner; James [Roy] Newman, “New Names for Old”, in Mathematics and the Imagination, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, OCLC 525772, page 23:
- Words of wisdom are spoken by children at least as often as by scientists. The name "googol" was invented by a child (Dr. Kasner's nine-year-old nephew) who was asked to think up a name for a very big number, namely, 1 with a hundred zeros after it. He was very certain that this number was not infinite, and therefore equally certain that it had to have a name. […] A googolplex is much bigger than a googol, much bigger than a googol times a googol. A googol times a googol would be 1 with 200 zeros, whereas a googolplex is one with a googol of zeros. You will get some idea of the size of this very large but finite number from the fact that there would not be enough room to write it, if you went to the farthest star, touring all the nebulae and putting down zeros every inch of the way.
- 1979, Steven Pinker, "Formal models of language learning", Language, Cognition, and Human Nature:
- For example, in considering all the finite state grammars that use seven terminal symbols and seven auxiliary symbols (states), [...] he must test over a googol (10^100) candidates.
- 1980, Carl Sagan, Cosmos, chapter IX
- If the universe were packed solid with neutrons, say, so there was no empty space anywhere, there would still only be about 10128 particles in it, quite a bit more than a googol but trivially small compared to a googolplex.
- “googol” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–.
- “googol” (US) / “googol” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
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|Cardinal : googol|
googol m (plural googols)
- googol (1 followed by 100 zeros)