Q:

# Why is the letter "K" used to represent a thousand?

A:

The letter "K" is used to represent 1000, because it represents the prefix "kilo," which means 1000 of something in the metric system. For instance, kilogram means 1000 grams.

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Credit: Aslak Raanes CC-BY 2.0

The prefix "kilo" was taken from the Greek word chilioi or khilioi, which means thousand. This happened when a group of French scientists were commissioned to make the metric system. The metric system was designed to make conversions between units easier by making each unit a factor of 10 larger or smaller than the nearest units. Scientists needed to have standard prefixes that represented how much larger or smaller a specific unit was from the base unit. This makes it easy for a kilometer to be converted to a meter or a kilogram to a gram, because once the prefixes are known all conversions are standard.

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## Related Questions

• A:

The letter "K" is commonly used to indicate 1,000 when dealing with certain numeric situations, especially money. While not always professionally recognized, the use of the letter "K" has become widely used in mainstream society.

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• A:

When newspaper journalist Henry Chadwick created the baseball recordkeeping system, he used the letter "K" to denote "strikeout" because he needed the letter "S" to communicate "sacrifice." He chose "K" because it was the last letter of the word "struck," a term which was more commonly used than strikeout in the early days of baseball.

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• A:

The metric system (SI) defines seven fundamental quantities that cannot be further broken down, from which all other derived quantities come. The meter is the fundamental quantity for length. Area uses the derived quantity of square meters and volume uses cubic meters.