Why Does The Letter “K” Stand For Thousand?


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Ever wondered what logical progression that lead to writing 1,000 as 1K? The story begins with “chilioi,” which is the Greek word for thousand. However, the Greeks took this word in a more loose sense and rather meant

“Plural of uncertain affinity; a thousand:…thousand.”

The word chilioi is thus a close translation of 1000 and stands for an unknown length of time and an all-encompassing completeness rather than a literal thousand.

Some people attribute this to a verse in Bible, Revelation 20:2-6 “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a THOUSAND years.”

But the reality is that the Bible has been translated several times, and its original language is actually lost. The translated modern English version referencing a thousand years does not refer to 1000 years in English. It actually references to an uncertain amount of time.

French took the Greek word “Chilioi” and shortened it to “Kilo.” Then they came up with the metric system and introduced kilo as 1000. Soon enough, new words like Kiloliter, Kilogram, Kilotonne, etc. referred to 1000 liters and so on. This led to people all over the world start using the word K as an abbreviation for thousand, which soon also seeped into the avenues of economic lingo, thus the transition of $435,000 becoming $435K.
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  1. Actually, “K” is the symbol for kelvin, the unit of thermodynamic temperature in the International System of Units (SI). Lower case “k” is the symbol for kilo-, the prefix meaning one thousand in the SI. The misuse of K for thousand should be discouraged.

  2. In reference to this statement: “But the reality is that the Bible has been translated several times, and its original language is actually lost.” This is false. Scholars have the entirety of the Old and New Testaments in their original writings, and translations have been meticulously created and compared to each other and the original Hebrew and Aramaic of the Old Testament and Greek of the New Testament.

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