I have heard many historians use the word denominator. I know its significance in maths but when and why is the word used in other contexts? And what are its synonyms in those contexts?
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closed as general reference by tchrist, Mark Beadles, Cameron, MετάEd, Daniel Oct 13 '12 at 18:59
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A denominator of the current answers (mine included) are all attempts to help OP.
Denominator definition (non-mathematical):
An example of the first definition can be found in the first sentence.
An example of the second definition can be found in the definition link.
Denominator's definitions mean that if you have many things with a
Denominator's etymology strings to 'denomination', a noun, meaning : "a naming, act of giving a name to"
When you find a denominator between "items" (implied
Just thought of a semi-okay example:
Cheese, ice-cream, yogurt; all are dairy and the denominator / denominate is 'milk' (assuming you are not lactose-intolerant ;) )
Outside of the mathematical it means something that is held in common, a shared trait.
When used it is often preceded by the word common, as in:
Sometimes you will see denominator used in subjects such as history when referring to "common denominators", traits which apply to the entire subject. You could also use common traits, commonalities, etc.