AskDefine | Define megabyte

Dictionary Definition

megabyte n : a unit of information equal to one million (1,048,576) bytes [syn: MB]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. One million bytes. SI Symbol: MB
  2. In the context of "computing": 1,048,576 bytes; a mebibyte. Frequently abbreviated MB.
    • 2003, Michael Meyers, Managing and Troubleshooting PCs, page 933
      One megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes. One megahertz, however is a million Hertz.
    • 2004, Kerry Cox & Christopher Gerg, Managing Security with Snort and IDS Tools, page 92
      Defaults to 2 megabytes (2,097,152 bytes).
    • 2006, Eriq Oliver Neale, Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Unleashed, page 290
      By default, each log file [...] is exactly 5 megabytes (5,242,880 bytes) in size.


about a million bytes

See also

Extensive Definition

A megabyte is a unit of information or computer storage equal to either 106 (1,000,000) bytes or 220 (1,048,576) bytes, depending on context. In rare cases, it is used to mean 1000×1024 (1,024,000) bytes. It is commonly abbreviated as Mbyte or MB (compare Mb, for the megabit). The term megabyte was coined in 1970.


The term "megabyte" is ambiguous because it is commonly used to mean either 10002 bytes or 10242 bytes. The confusion originated as compromise technical jargon for the byte multiples that needed to be expressed by the powers of 2 but lacked a convenient name. As 1024 (210) is roughly equal to 1000 (103), roughly corresponding SI multiples began to be used as approximate binary multiples. By the end of 2007, standards and government authorities including IEC, IEEE, EU, and NIST, had addressed this ambiguity by promulgating standards requiring the use of megabyte to describe strictly 10002 bytes and "mebibyte" to describe 10242 bytes. This is reflected in an increasing number of software projects, but most file managers still show file sizes in "megabytes" ("MB") in the binary sense (10242 bytes). The term remains ambiguous and it can follow any one of the following common definitions:
  1. 1,000,000 bytes (10002, 106): This is the definition recommended by the International System of Units (SI) and the International Electrotechnical Commission IEC. This definition is used in networking contexts and most storage media, particularly hard drives, Flash-based storage, and DVDs, and is also consistent with the other uses of the SI prefix in computing, such as CPU clock speeds or measures of performance.
  2. 1,048,576 bytes (10242, 220): This definition is most commonly used in reference to computer memory, but most software that display file size or drive capacity, including file managers also use this definition. See Consumer confusion (in the "gigabyte" article).
  3. 1,024,000 bytes (1000×1024): This is used to describe the formatted capacity of USB flash drives and the "1.44 MB" 3.5 inch HD floppy disk, which actually has a 1,440 KiB capacity, that is, 1,440×1,024 bytes, or 1,474,560 bytes.

Megabyte examples

Depending on compression methods and file format, a megabyte of data can roughly be:
megabyte in Afrikaans: Megagreep
megabyte in Arabic: ميجابايت
megabyte in Bosnian: Megabajt
megabyte in Catalan: Megabyte
megabyte in Danish: Megabyte
megabyte in Estonian: Megabait
megabyte in Spanish: Megabyte
megabyte in Basque: Megabyte
megabyte in Persian: مگابایت
megabyte in French: Mégaoctet
megabyte in Korean: 메가바이트
megabyte in Indonesian: Megabita
megabyte in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Megabyte
megabyte in Italian: Megabyte
megabyte in Latvian: Megabaits
megabyte in Dutch: Megabyte
megabyte in Japanese: メガバイト
megabyte in Norwegian: Megabyte
megabyte in Norwegian Nynorsk: Megabyte
megabyte in Polish: Megabajt
megabyte in Portuguese: Megabyte
megabyte in Russian: Мегабайт
megabyte in Simple English: Megabyte
megabyte in Slovak: Megabajt
megabyte in Serbian: Мегабајт
megabyte in Finnish: Megatavu
megabyte in Thai: เมกะไบต์
megabyte in Vietnamese: Megabyte
megabyte in Tajik: Мегабайт
megabyte in Turkish: Megabayt
megabyte in Ukrainian: Мегабайт
megabyte in Chinese: Megabyte
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1