Nano

/na-nÉ™-/

[CMU: from 'nanosecond']

n. A brief period of time.

"Be with you in a nano"

means you really will be free shortly, i.e., implies what mainstream people mean by

"in a jiffy"

(whereas the hackish use of 'jiffy' is quite different -- see jiffy).

[SI: the next quantifier below micro-; meaning * 10-9]

pref. Smaller than micro-, and used in the same rather loose and connotative way. Thus, one has nanotechnology (coined by hacker K. Eric Drexler) by analogy with 'microtechnology'; and a few machine architectures have a 'nanocode' level below 'microcode'. Tom Duff at Bell Labs has also pointed out that

"Pi seconds is a nanocentury".

See also quantifiers, pico-, nanoacre, nanobot, nanocomputer, nanofortnight.