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tera-

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a combining form used in the names of units of measure equal to one trillion of a given base unit: terahertz.
Computers. a combining form of like function with the value 240 (= 1,099,511,627,766).
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Origin of tera-

<Greek téras monster. See terato-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

WORDS THAT USE TERA-

What does tera- mean?

Tera- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “one trillion.” It is often used in terms of measurement. In terms from computer science, such as terabyte, tera- means 240—which equals, well, a huge number.

Tera- comes from the Greek téras, meaning “monster.” Yes, “monster.” Discover more at our entry for terato-.

What are variants of tera-?

A synonym for tera-, as it is used in computer science to mean 240, is tebi-. Learn more about this combining form at our entry for tebi-.

Examples of tera-

One example of a technical term you may have seen that features the combining form tera- is terahertz, “one trillion (1012) hertz.”

The combining form tera- means “one trillion,” while a hertz is a unit of frequency. Terahertz literally translates to “one trillion hertz.”

What are some words that use the combining form tera-?

What are some other forms that tera– may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that begins with the exact letters tera-, such as teraglin or terakihi, is necessarily using the combining forming tera- to denote “one trillion.” Learn what a terakihi is at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

In computer science, flop is an abbreviation of “floating point.” With this in mind, how many floating-point operations occur per second in a teraflop?

How to use tera- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tera-

tera-

prefix
denoting 10 12terameter
Also: tebi- denoting 2 40terabyte
Symbol: T

Word Origin for tera-

from Greek teras monster
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

Medical definitions for tera-

tera-

pref.
One trillion (1012):terahertz.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for tera-

tera-

A prefix that means:
One trillion (1012), as in terahertz, one trillion hertz.
240 (that is, 1,099,511,627,776), which is the power of two closest to a trillion, as in terabyte.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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