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What is the meaning of 'K' in 20K or 30K or 40K when disclosing price?

6 Answers 6

13

True. The letter is described to show '1000'. The prefix 'kilo' is derived from the Greek word chilioi or khilioi. Its short form was used for the metric system.

I still remember the first time I heard of 'K' used for 1000 other than kilogram or kilometer was when the 'Y2K' bug threatened the entire world! I was curious to know and discovered that it was 'Year 2000 bug'. Since then, using 'K' for a thousand (anything) hasn't been an uncommon usage.

Good read is here on a Math Forum

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  • @Maulik V How is this 'k' pronounced? For example: Can 20k simply be pronounced as 'twenty k'?
    – Dinusha
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 20:32
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    yes, 'K' as in alphabet. 'kay'. @Dinusha
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 5:13
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The SI prefix for a thousand is kilo-, officially abbreviated as k—for instance, prefixed to "metre" or its abbreviation m, kilometre or km signifies a thousand metres. As such, people occasionally represent the number in a non-standard notation by replacing the last three zeros of the general numeral with "k": for instance, 30k for 30,000.

6

'K' is short for 1,000. It comes from 'kilo'.

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It's short for "thousand", just like how kilometers (km) are a thousand meters (m).

1

Also, in computers K means 2**10 (two to the 10th power) = 1024. But in prices (or miles on car) it means 1000.

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As such, people occasionally represent the number in a non-standard notation by replacing the last three zeros of the general numeral with "K": for instance, 30K for 30,000.

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  • 1
    Welcome to ELL! The other two answers from more than a year ago already mentioned this point; can you add more to the answer to make it stand out? Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 23:58
  • Four other answers, actually...from two years ago.
    – zondo
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 0:22

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