Lacs or lakhs — which is correct?

If you live in such country, as India or Pakistan, or if you are a foreign tourist, you may sometimes be in a quandary. Which spelling is correct: lakhs or lacs? Are both lac and lakhs correct? What should I write on my cheques, and will they be dishonoured if I make a mistake? Don’t worry, we are going to solve the riddle.

Lacs or lakhs? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Lacs or lakhs — is there an incorrect form?

First things first: what are lakhs or lacs? Pronounced as /lɑːk/ and abbreviated as L, it is a unit of the Indian numbering system, equal to 100,000. The word lacs/lakhs is used especially in reference to rupees.

All right, but it still doesn’t respond to the main question: which form is incorrect? The answer is: both lakhs and lacs are correct and accepted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The word lakhs/lacs derives from the Sanskrit word laksha which means ‘hundred thousand’.

If you are a Western tourist, it is advisable that you should know more about the Indian numeric system.

As you know now, one lakh or lac amounts to one hundred thousand (100,000). One crore is ten million (10,000,000). A hundred crore is one billion (1,000,000,000). One trillion (1,000,000,000 — quite a number, indeed) amounts to one lakh crore.

Lakhs and lacs — examples from books

‘Gandhiji used to say, ‘True democracy is not run by twenty people sitting in Delhi. The power centres now are in capital cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. I would like to distribute these power centres in seven lakh villages of India’.

Arvind Kejriwal, Swaraj, 2012

‘Nearly 50% of Indian villages still do not have any source of protected drinking water. Of the 1.42 million villages in India, 1.95 lacs are affected by chemical contamination of water. 37.7 million are afflicted by waterborne diseases every year’.

Rajnikant Puranik, Nehru’s 97 Major Blunders Quotes, 2016

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Passionately in love with English — a romance initiated by reading Tolkien’s books that finally lead her too far, and now she is an English philology graduate. She loves learning, especially when it comes to languages. Interested in visual arts, history and DIY.