before vowels meg-, word-forming element often meaning "large, great," but in precise scientific language "one million" (megaton, megawatt, etc.), from Greek megas "great, large, vast, big, high, tall; mighty, important" (fem. megale), from PIE *meg- "great" (cf. Latin magnus, Old English micel; see mickle). Mega began to be used alone as an adjective by 1982.