Mega is a unit prefix in metric systems of units denoting a factor of one million (106 or 1000000). It has the unit symbol M. It was confirmed for use in the International System of Units (SI) in 1960. Mega comes from Ancient Greek: μέγας, romanized: mégas, lit. 'great'.
Common examples of usage
- Megapixel: 1 million pixels in a digital camera
- One megatonne of TNT equivalent amounts to approx. 4 petajoules and is the approximate energy released on igniting one million tonnes of TNT. The unit is often used in measuring the explosive power of nuclear weapons.
- Megahertz: frequency of electromagnetic radiation for radio and television broadcasting, GSM, etc. 1 MHz = 1,000,000 Hz.
- Megabyte: unit of information equal to one million bytes (SI standard).
- Megawatt: equal to one million watts of power. It is commonly used to measure the output of power plants, as well as the power consumption of electric locomotives, data centers, and other entities that heavily consume electricity.
- Megadeath: (or megacorpse) is one million human deaths, usually used in reference to projected number of deaths from a nuclear explosion. The term was used by scientists and thinkers who strategized likely outcomes of all-out nuclear warfare.
When units occur in exponentiation, such as in square and cubic forms, any multiples-prefix is considered part of the unit, and thus included in the exponentiation.
- 1 Mm2 means one square megametre or the size of a square of 1000000m by 1000000m or 1012m2, and not 1000000square metres (106 m2).
- 1 Mm3 means one cubic megametre or the size of a cube of 1000000m by 1000000m by 1000000m or 1018 m3, and not 1000000cubic metres (106 m3)
In some fields of computing, mega may sometimes denote 1,048,576 (220) of information units, for example, a megabyte, a megaword, but denotes 1000000 (106) units of other quantities, for example, transfer rates: 1megabit/s = 1000000bit/s. The prefix mebi- has been suggested as a prefix for 220 to avoid ambiguity.
- "Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online)". www.oed.com (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. June 2001. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
Origin: A borrowing from Greek. Etymon: Greek μεγα-. ... Forming scientific and technical terms with the sense 'very large', 'comparatively large', or (esp. in Pathol.) 'abnormally large', often having correlatives beginning micro-, and sometimes also synonyms beginning macro-.