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In the website http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/thousand#thousand__2, I find that

When you are not giving an exact number, you can use the plural form "thousands" with the preposition "of":

Every day, thousands of tons of waste were sent to landfills.

The words hundred and million work in the same way."

Do "thousands of" and "millions of" mean the same?

I kind of think the number that "millions of" refers to is more than the number that "thousands of" refers to.

  • Obviously it is more to talk about "millions" than "thousands" but if you are using this idiom, you are not bothered with quantity imho. – Yohann V. Jun 24 '15 at 9:40
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    The example is discussing how you use the words… not how many items they refer to. – Tetsujin Jun 24 '15 at 9:44
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    Both "millions of" and "thousands of" can refer to a large number of things or people, but the quantity that the former refers to is more than that of the latter. Can I understand it this way? – August Jun 24 '15 at 9:49
  • I disagree with the quoted passage. If someone says "thousands of" something, I assume they have a reasonable expectation that the actual amount is between 1,000 and 9,999, inclusive. If someone says "millions of", I assume they have a reasonable expectation that the actual amount is between 1,000,000 and 9,999,999, inclusive, possibly extending to 999,999,999, but then I would expect to see "tens of millions of" or "hundreds of millions of" for amounts 10,000,000 or greater. Likewise with "tens" or "hundreds of thousands of". – Todd Wilcox Oct 9 '15 at 20:28
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I kind of think the number that "millions of" refers to is more than the number that "thousands of" refers to.

You are correct.

Read the text carefully:

The words hundred and million work in the same way.

X works the same as Y is not the same as saying X means the same as Y.

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It's not trying to teach you the meanings of the numbers at all….
it's trying to teach you ( [unit]plural + 'of' ) is the way to convey your intended approximate quantity —

There are dozens of recipes in the book & scores of photographs. It sold millions of copies, in thousands of stores, in hundreds of cities around the world.

It doesn't even need to be a straight 'count', it could be a distance…

Miles of golden beaches stretched as far as the eye could see...
Yards of cloth were used to make the dress…

Or time…

Hours of queuing to see the show were well worth the effort...
After days of travelling though the arid desert, we finally found water...

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