Header image of wall of bricks

centi-

One hundredth; a multiple of a hundred.

Latin centum, a hundred.

In current usage, centi‑ always denotes a fractional unit, as in centimetre for one hundredth of a metre, or centilitre (centiliter in US) for a hundredth of a litre. It is one of the standard SI (Système International) multiples (see the entry Number words). There are a few older words in which the form represents a hundred, as in centipede (Latin pes, ped‑, foot) for an insect with (supposedly) a hundred legs, or the centigrade scale of temperature (now officially called the Celsius scale), in which the range between the freezing and boiling point of water is divided into one hundred parts.

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.