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In programming you can negate a double. At least Google hits tend to that, but there are, though, a lot of hits for invert a double.

While the definition of to invert is clear

to invert:

to change the normal position of something, especially by turning it upside down or by arranging it in the opposite order

the definition of to negate seems to have a bit different meaning

to negate:

1 to stop something from having any effect

2 to state that something does not exist

Other dictionaries like merriam-wesbster back that up:

to deny the existence or truth of

to cause to be ineffective or invalid

Having said that I wonder why there are so many Google hits for to negate a double. We neither make it invalid nor we cease its existence.

I found one definition that goes into the direction of turning a value to its opposite but the definition fits more to a boolean than a double because NOT 5 is unequal to MINUS 5.

Computer Science: To perform the machine logic operation NOT gate. thefreedictionary

But the noun negation fits at all:


the exact opposite of something; the act of causing something not to exist or to become its opposite

So, why do we negate a double instead of invert a double?

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closed as not a real question by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, Matt E. Эллен, StoneyB, tchrist Sep 26 '12 at 1:23

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Can you give a full sentence and the expected meaning? I'm having a hard time coming up with a context where this would mean something. Is it, "I need to find the negation of this number, in my code, it's a double precision floating point, so I need to negate a double." But you wouldn't say in the same context 'invert a double'. Instead of the phrase out of syntactic context, give a full sentence. – Mitch Apr 5 '12 at 13:40
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In mathematics, the negation of x is −x, while the inverse of x is 1/x. You shouldn't necessarily expect the meaning of terms used mathematically to correspond exactly to the ordinary English meaning of the terms.

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Oh yes, I see. You're absolutely right. I think I suffered from a tunnel vision. – Em1 Apr 5 '12 at 14:56

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