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nano-

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  1. a combining form with the meaning “very small, minute,” used in the formation of compound words (nanoplankton); in the names of units of measure it has the specific sense “one billionth” (10-9): nanomole; nanosecond.
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Also nanno-; especially before a vowel, nan-.

Origin of nano-

combining form representing Greek nânos, nánnos dwarf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nano-

nano-

combining form
  1. denoting 10 –9nanosecond Symbol: n
  2. indicating extreme smallnessnanoplankton
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Word Origin

from Latin nānus dwarf, from Greek nanos
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

Word Origin and History for nano-

introduced 1947 (at 14th conference of the Union Internationale de Chimie) as a prefix for units of one thousand-millionth part, from Greek nanos "a dwarf." According to Watkins, this is originally "little old man," from nannos "uncle," masc. of nanna "aunt" (see nana). Earlier it was used as a prefix to mean "dwarf, dwarfish," and still in a non-scientific sense of "very small."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nano- in Medicine

nano-

pref.
  1. Extremely small:nanoid.
  2. One-billionth (10-9):nanometer.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

nano- in Science

nano-

  1. A prefix that means:
  2. Very small or at a microscopic level, as in nanotube. In this sense, this prefix is sometimes spelled nanno-, as in nannoplankton.
  3. One billionth, as in nanosecond, one billionth of a second.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.