The (Most) Popular Usage of Words for Large Numbers
I often discuss names for large numbers with readers of my site and with folks on forums, etc. When it concerns ad-hoc Chuquet-like systems and 'googol'-like invented names, it is rare that anyone except me brings up the question of whether any such invented names would come into use. This generalises into the question
What large numbers are most often referred to by words or other spoken-language-based means?
Regarding "spoken", recall that written languages come from pre-existing spoken languages, (except for auxiliary and other artificially constructed languages, which are not popular). When we describe a number in writing using letters ("twenty-seven million" rather than "27000000") we are referring to the number in a way that is based on a spoken language.
The spoken basis of language is also followed by most inventors of ad-hoc systems (both Chuquet-like and 'googol'-like), who invest considerable effort to avoid pronunciation ambiguities.
By far the biggest examples of spoken-based number names receiving popular usage are one-off names like googol and Graham's number. There are only a few that are used by the non-googologist population often enough to be worth mentioning here, and most of those are in the range of numbers that can be written easily using an exponent tower (such as "Skewes' number" 10101034).
In the domain of incremental games, which is a far larger community than googologists, there are many games that use huge numbers, but only a few that attempt to refer to in-game numbers by letters or words. These include:
- Sandcastle Builder uses SI prefixes and makes up a few new ones when the standard ones run out. That game transitions to infinite values above 21024.
- Button Simulator Dimension, which is played within Roblox, uses abbreviated Conway-Wechsler names. The largest I noticed (in this example game-play video) is "UNgTr" for unnonagintatrecentillion. Everything in this game is an amount of money, so "$44.84 UNgTr" means 4.484×101177 dollars.