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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BILLION, n. A nodule, gen. of a calcareous or silicaceous substance, formed by concretion in a sediment of shale.Ayr. 1896 Trans. Inv. Scientific Soc. V. 103:
In the muddy sands there are sometimes got those curious concretions called crackers or fairy stones, and in Ayrshire billions, probably from the Gaelic builgein, a bubble or blister. In the massive muds these concretions take the form of blisters crowded together, or sometimes as single spheres.

[Orig. uncertain. ? Ad. Eng. bullion, a knob or lump (of metal).]

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"Billion n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Jun 2023 <>



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