[kee-loh, kil-oh]

noun, plural ki·los.

(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).

Origin of kilo-

< French, representing Greek chī́lioi a thousand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kilo

Contemporary Examples of kilo

Historical Examples of kilo

  • We prefer to use about five litres of the liquid to each one kilo.

  • Magkupras mig ipatimbang, We will make copra to sell by the kilo.

  • Kilo rakes a coal from the fire and blows the ashes from it.

    The Saxons

    Edwin Davies Schoonmaker

  • Well, I waked this morning just after sunrise with a feeling that Kilo was there staring at me.

    Angel Island

    Inez Haynes Gillmore

  • As a rule, all duties in Cuba are levied by the kilo and hundred kilos.

    Industrial Cuba

    Robert P. Porter

British Dictionary definitions for kilo



noun plural kilos

short for kilogram, kilometre




communications a code word for the letter k



denoting 10³ (1000)kilometre Symbol: k
(in computer technology) denoting 2 10 (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 for kilo-

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

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

kilo in Medicine



One thousand (103):kilogram.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

kilo in Science


A prefix that means:
One thousand, as in kilowatt, one thousand watts.
210 (that is, 1,024), which is the power of 2 closest to 1,000, as in kilobyte.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.