1. ## order of magnitude

When we say "something has increased by an order of magnitude/by two orders of magnitude/by three orders of magnitude...," is it saying "it has increased each by ten times/one hundred times/one thousand times"?
Does "order of magnitude" mean "10^x"?

How about "many orders of magnitude"? Is it hundreds of times or thousands of times or more than that?

Thank you.

2. ## Re: order of magnitude

Yes, you understand the expression "order of magnitude" correctly, except it's usually used for approximate comparisons. For example, you can say that 1021 is greater than 9 by two orders of magnitude.

"Many orders of magnitude" is just as precise as the word "many". Not very precise.

3. ## Re: order of magnitude

The concept of "order of magnitude" is often used in engineering when exact numbers are not known or not important.

If you are conceptualizing some process or machine, whether you have 30 or 60 tons of some material to handle is not an important difference. But if you have instead 500 or 5000 tons, then you need to conceptualize a different order of magnitude.

4. ## Re: order of magnitude

: And of course 1/10/100/1000... may not be the relevant sequence of 'orders of magnitude'. The order of magnitude relation of a 64-bit computer to a 32-bit computer is not going to be a decimal one. So an order of magnitude is a power (^N) of whatever base arithmetic you are using.

b

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