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[kee-loh, kil-oh] /ˈki loʊ, ˈkɪl oʊ/
noun, plural kilos.
(a word used in communications to represent the letter K.)
Origin of kilo
First recorded in 1865-70; shortened form


a Greek combining form meaning “thousand,” introduced from French in the nomenclature of the metric system (kiloliter); on this model, used in the formation of compound words in other scientific measurements (kilowatt).
< French, representing Greek chī́lioi a thousand Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kilo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, sir, kilo is chuck full of Sir Walter; full as a goat.

    Kilo Ellis Parker Butler
  • Magkupras mig ipatimbang, We will make copra to sell by the kilo.

  • There are chickens and ducks and wild-fowl: at eleven and twelve and fourteen francs a kilo.

    Sea and Sardinia D. H. Lawrence
  • kilo rakes a coal from the fire and blows the ashes from it.

    The Saxons Edwin Davies Schoonmaker
  • kilo knows the civilizing and Christianizing influence of books.

    Kilo Ellis Parker Butler
  • On Tom's kilo there was a small, electrical searchlight which he had not yet switched on.

  • Tom, with a fierce feeling of resentment at the fellow, was about to shift the course of the kilo, but he was too late.

British Dictionary definitions for kilo


noun (pl) kilos
short for kilogram, kilometre


(communications) a code word for the letter k


denoting 10³ (1000): kilometre, k
(in computer technology) denoting 210 (1024): kilobyte: in computer usage, kilo- is restricted to sizes of storage (e.g. kilobit) when it means 1024; in other computer contexts it retains its usual meaning of 1000
Word Origin
from French, from Greek khilioi thousand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kilo

1870, shortening of kilogram. Slang shortening key (in drug trafficking) is attested from 1968.


word-forming element meaning "one thousand," introduced in French 1795, when the metric system was officially adopted there, from Greek khilioi "thousand," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kilo in Medicine

kilo- pref.
One thousand (103): kilogram.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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kilo in Science
  1. A prefix that means:

  2. One thousand, as in kilowatt, one thousand watts.

  3. 210 (that is, 1,024), which is the power of 2 closest to 1,000, as in kilobyte.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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