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a combining form meaning “one trillionth” (10 −12):
Origin of pico-
< Spanish pico peak, beak, bit. See pic2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for pico-


denoting 10–12: picofarad, p
Word Origin
from Spanish pico small quantity, odd number, peak
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 pico-

word-forming element used in making names for very small unites of measure, 1915 (formally adopted c.1952 as a scientific prefix meaning "one trillionth"), from Spanish pico "a little over, a small balance," literally "sharp point, beak," of Celtic origin (cf. Gaulish beccus "beak").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pico- in Medicine

pico- pref.

  1. One-trillionth (10-12): picogram.

  2. Very small: picornavirus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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