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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:

negation:

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 Эллен, StoneyB, tchrist Sep 26 '12 at 1:23

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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

1 Answer 1

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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