Why does K mean 1,000?

We were driving somewhere a few days ago and my wife asked why K means 1,000. I said I didn’t know and she said I should research it on my blog. So, here I am, researching it on my blog. I also wondered why K stands for a strikeout in baseball.

The explanation is quite simple. K stands for Kilo, as in a 5K race. I’m not entirely sure why K represents a strikeout, but at least the letter k is in struck or strikeout, so it’s not entirely random.

Additionally, kilo and strikeout aren’t the only things the letter K can stand for. Wikipedia has dozens more uses.


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  1. You were correct about the K for strikeouts (according to the Straight Dope).


    Comment by mckay on November 21, 2006 @ 7:57 am
  2. Cool. I would have liked a more exciting history, but that’ll have to do.

    Comment by dan on November 21, 2006 @ 9:11 am
  3. I was about to include here a link to an Ask Yahoo link about the strikeout K, but it referenced Straight Dope, so it looks like you’ve got the same info through Mckay. I’m a bit impressed/surprised that you knew that baseball use of “K”, not being a big fan of the game or anything. I guess it’s likely the best known scorekeeping abbreviation (“S” was already taken, for a sacrifice) and is frequently used in highlight commentary, or on fan signs at ballparks, but I didn’t think that you watched much/any of those either. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised before by your breadth and range of curiosity and knowledge, so this is not a big surprise, just a minor mention. In the priority system of knowledge and information, baseball scoring is probably pretty far down the list.

    Comment by DaveH on November 21, 2006 @ 9:48 am
  4. In my glory days in little league I became intimately familiar with K as the only mark needed to describe my at bats.

    Comment by dan on November 21, 2006 @ 10:09 am
  5. Now we have the mystery solved of K for 1,000. How about M for 1,000 qauntity in printing lingo?

    Comment by Gloria Chen on November 21, 2006 @ 10:35 am
  6. Good question. In Roman numerals M represents 1000. Also, 1 megabyte is 1024 kilobytes. My guess is the roman numeral is the reason for the quantity in printing lingo.

    Comment by dan on November 21, 2006 @ 11:08 am
  7. In response to your wife’s suggestion, I believe you told her to research it. I knew your curiosity would win out :)

    Comment by katie on November 21, 2006 @ 12:00 pm
  8. True, very true. My curiosity got the best of me.

    Comment by dan on November 21, 2006 @ 12:03 pm
  9. Ah, so we had similar Little League experiences. (Were we ever on a same team or anything, that you remember? Perhaps I’ve blocked out that period.) But I don’t remember anyone officially scoring our Little League games. Were you being serious or more just witty about it? I may just go look this up now, but I wonder how “OK” came to mean what it does. I think that I could do etymological research all day long. The search and learning go on …

    Comment by DaveH on November 21, 2006 @ 12:06 pm
  10. I think we were on the tigers together for a year. I wasn’t making anything up to be witty. I remember the coach calculating everyone’s batting averages. I either asked what mine was or he said it was my turn, but when he looked at the record book he got a surprised look on his face and said something about me being a great fielder.

    Comment by dan on November 21, 2006 @ 12:12 pm
  11. thanks for pointing me to wikipedia I found the interesting article about Baseball_scorekeeping.
    it is a prime example of a well done wiki page.
    an example an lots of text talking about the example

    Comment by christopher on November 22, 2006 @ 8:54 am
  12. You’re very welcome. Wikipedia continues to amaze me with its breadth and depth of information.

    Comment by dan on November 22, 2006 @ 10:19 am

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