[meg-uh-bahyt] /ˈmɛg əˌbaɪt/

noun, Computers.
2 20 (1,048,576) .
(loosely) one million .
Abbreviation: MB.
(computing) 220 or 1 048 576 bytes Abbreviation MB, mbyte See also mega- (sense 2)

1972, from mega- + byte.

The Sussex team has run the Forrester/Meadows models more than 1000 times on the UK’s most powerful computer (the giant two-megabyte IBM 370/165 at Harwell). [“New Scientist,” May 4, 1972]


Our Living Language : In computer science and industry usage, the prefix mega- often does not have its standard scientific meaning of 1,000,000, but refers instead to the power of two closest to 1,000,000, which is 220, or 1,048,576. The calculation of data storage capacity (measured in bytes) is based on powers of two because of the binary nature of bits (1 byte is 8, or 23, bits). Thus, a megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes, although it is also used less technically to refer to a million bytes. Other numerical prefixes are interpreted similarly. With data transmission rates (measured in bits per second), a bit is considered as a signal pulse, and calculations are generally based on powers of ten. Thus, a rate of one megabit per second is equal to one million bits per second. However, in certain technical contexts, megabit can also refer to 1,048,576 bits. Similarly, the prefix kilo- refers to 1,000 or 210 (1,024); giga- to 1,000,000,000 (one billion) or 230 (1,073,741,824); and tera- to 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) or 240 (1,099,511,627,776).

megabyte [(meg-uh-beyet)]

A unit of computer information: one million bytes.

(MB, colloquially “meg”) 2^20 = 1,048,576 bytes = 1024 kilobytes. 1024 megabytes are one gigabyte.
The text of a six hundred page paperback book would require about a megabyte of ASCII storage.
See prefix.


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  • Megacephaly

    [meg-uh-suh-fal-ik] /ˌmɛg ə səˈfæl ɪk/ adjective, Cephalometry. 1. . /ˌmɛɡəˈsɛfəlɪ/ noun 1. the condition of having an unusually large head or cranial capacity. It can be of congenital origin or result from an abnormal overgrowth of the facial bones Compare microcephaly megacephaly meg·a·ceph·a·ly (měg’ə-sěf’ə-lē) n. See macrocephaly. meg’a·ce·phal’ic (-sə-fāl’ĭk) or meg’a·ceph’a·lous (-sěf’ə-lěs) adj.

  • Megacephalic

    [meg-uh-suh-fal-ik] /ˌmɛg ə səˈfæl ɪk/ adjective, Cephalometry. 1. .

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