Metric Prefixes

Metric prefixes sound a lot like Marx brother names. In fact, seven of the twenty common metric prefixes end in the letter “o”, which definitely helps*.  Here’s a list of the metric prefixes and, where applicable, the Marx family member whose name I think most closely matches its nomenclature.

Yotta
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

Zetta
1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

Exa
1 000 000 000 000 000 000

Peta
1 000 000 000 000 000

Tera
1 000 000 000 000

Giga – See Groucho under “Kilo”
1 000 000 000

Mega
1 000 000

Kilo – Groucho. It’s a shame there aren’t more metric prefixes that start with “G” I felt obligated to choose Giga for one of the brothers, but “Kilo” seems to fit better for Groucho. The hard ‘K’ sound and the hard ‘G’ sound both have the back of the throat click which I think makes this comparison work.
1 000

Hecto – Harpo. An obvious choice here.
1 00

Deca
1 0


Deci
0.1

Centi – UGH. I’m torn on Chico. I’ve listed it for both Centi and Micro. Honestly, I think Micro is a better fit.
0.01

Milli – Minnie was the mother of the Marx Brothers
0.001

Micro – Chico, yes. This is a better fit.
0.000 000 1

Nano – Gummo. The “n” and “m” sounds are close enough that I think this works.
0.000 000 001

Pico
0.000 000 000 001

Femto
0.000 000 000 000 001

Atto
0.000 000 000 000 000 001

Zepto – Zeppo, a PERFECT choice. This fits better than any other
0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001

Yocto
0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001

 

*Extra fun fact: I never realized that all metric prefixes that end in “a” are greater than 1. And ALMOST, all of metric prefixes between 0 and 1 end in “o”

1 comment on “Metric Prefixes”

  1. Ryan Schenk Reply

    Have you ever heard of a “Google Whack”? This is a game where you attempt to come up with two words that when typed into Google without quotes, will yield just one single result.

    Years ago me and some friends had our own competition to try to find a Google Whack where one of the words was “pizza”. It took all but we finally found a winner: Pizza Femtopascal

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