- a combining form with the meaning “very small, minute,” used in the formation of compound words (nanoplankton); in the names of units of measure it has the specific sense “one billionth” (10-9): nanomole; nanosecond.
- denoting 10 –9nanosecond Symbol: n
- indicating extreme smallnessnanoplankton
introduced 1947 (at 14th conference of the Union Internationale de Chimie) as a prefix for units of one thousand-millionth part, from Greek nanos “a dwarf.” According to Watkins, this is originally “little old man,” from nannos “uncle,” masc. of nanna “aunt” (see nana). Earlier it was used as a prefix to mean “dwarf, dwarfish,” and still in a non-scientific sense of “very small.” pref.
- Extremely small:nanoid.
- One-billionth (10-9):nanometer.
- A prefix that means:
- Very small or at a microscopic level, as in nanotube. In this sense, this prefix is sometimes spelled nanno-, as in nannoplankton.
- One billionth, as in nanosecond, one billionth of a second.