This tag is for questions about the usage and meaning of mathematical terminology and the names for mathematical entities in English.

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2
votes
2answers
773 views

Hyphens after the prefixes “non-” and “anti-” in mathematics

Is there a convention when to attach the prefixes non- and anti- to mathematical terms using a hyphen and when without? One uses non-zero but also noncommutative. Likewise for anti-. I no longer ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Hence”, “therefore” and “so” in mathematical proofs

It seems to me that "so" is seldom used in math proofs. Instead, "hence" and "therefore" are used very often, even repeatedly appearing in several sentences in a row. So I wonder if my feeling is ...
1
vote
3answers
7k views

What's the difference between perimeter and circumference? [closed]

What's the difference between perimeter and circumference when they mean the total length of the boundary of a two-dimensional geometric shape?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't years have commas?

For example, if one asks "what's two thousand plus two thousand", one could write it like this: 2,000 + 2,000 But when one writes the date: January 2, 2000 So why do we put commas when ...
0
votes
3answers
530 views

Five percent VS The five percent [closed]

Five percent VS The five percent. Which one is correct and why? Because i.e. this page exists http://www.thetwopercent.com/ or the famous slogan ;) "we are the 99%.". However, on the official apple ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

How to read parentheses equation [closed]

I have problems with reading mathematical equations in which there are parentheses; could anybody help me? For example: (x−a) (x+b) = 5 (x−a) + 2 (a+10) = z 2 + (10−a) d ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

What do you call the maximum number of recent values used for calculating an average [closed]

A sensor measures some physical quantity (like temperature). The measured value is tapped every 100ms or so. An average is calculated over the x most recently measured values. I.e. with every new ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
-5
votes
1answer
389 views

What's the word for the property of being divisible by a particular number? [closed]

Example: Since x is even (i.e., divisible by 2), its --word-- is true. Since y is odd, y's --word-- is false. The description suggests 'moddity', but there was another word for it... BTW, I ...
3
votes
1answer
273 views

“Both of” vs. just “both” with mathematical symbols

In mathematical writing we use letters to denote the mathematical objects we are writing about. I wonder how to use "both of" in the following phrase: Both of I and I' are irreducible ideals. ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

word for bringing a number to its absolute value

In mathematics, the absolute value of a number n is either −n if n is negative or n itself if otherwise. Is there a single word or shorter description for the replacement of n with its absolute ...
2
votes
1answer
234 views

Inverse proportions, but the other way around [closed]

The title sucks, I know... Anyway: As part of a game I'm making, one of the buildings decreases the time it takes to build other things. Like so: At level 0: Full time At level 1: Full time / 2 At ...
14
votes
4answers
10k views

How to read exponential expressions, e.g., “2^16”?

How do you say the mathematical function in English: x^y (or xy) For example, how do you say 2^16 (or 216) I know ^ means 'power' or 'exponentiate', but that is the name of the ...
80
votes
26answers
7k views

How to read “E = (mc)²” so as not to mistake for “E = mc²”

According to one of the questions already asked on EL&U, “E = mc²” is read as E equals M C squared. How do we read “E = (mc)²” so that it is not mistaken for “E = mc²”?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“Nominator” or “Numerator”? [closed]

Consider the fraction 3/7. In Mathematics, "7" in the expression is called "denominator" of the fraction. But in the case of "3", some people call it "nominator", and some call it "numerator". Which ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Should I use hyphens with prefixes like “sub” and “semi”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word? Some English texts, use the prefix sub put before a given proper word with "-" between them, for ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When do we use “suppose” and when “let”?

As a matter of fact, these two words are used a lot in mathematical contexts. Often, we use them interchangeably; but I do realize that that might not be correct. What should I do about this matter? ...
14
votes
1answer
6k views

Trapezium/trapezoid — why are the US/UK definitions swapped around?

These are the US definitions... Trapezoid — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides that has a pair of opposite sides parallel. Trapezium — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides and NO parallel ...
6
votes
2answers
488 views

Etymology of “magma” in abstract algebra

Magma is one of those beautiful words of Greek origin (μάγμα) that arouses the child and the wild in me, making me think of volcanoes. I just found out, though, that it is also used in mathematics to ...
0
votes
2answers
355 views

Explanation of sentence [closed]

I don't understand this sentence.... I know the meaning of all words except distinct... I looked in dictionary.. but I don't understand..:/ Output the number of distinct values when considered MOD ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

“Commutivity” or “commutativity”

I see commutivity used in contexts where the meaning appears to be the same as commutativity. Here are an example from physics and another example. Is commutivity incorrect? Does it differ from ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “iff” considered a real word or just an abbreviation?

I wonder if "iff" is considered a real word (as LEO says) or is it just an abbreviation (as in Wiktionary)?
3
votes
4answers
864 views

Is there a prefix for “infinite”?

I was looking for a prefix I could prepend to a word to mean an infinite amount of the thing the word describes. I eventually found someone with the same question, and since there were no answers, I ...
1
vote
5answers
411 views

What is the term or phrase to describe some process is sequential independent? [closed]

By "sequential independent", I mean the process remains the same no matter how you change the order of its subroutines. Better to be some term frequently used in math or engineering.
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Divide two into four and Divide two by four

Why does "divide two into four" equal two, and "divide two by four" equal one half? Correct if I am wrong, but this what I have learned recently.
-1
votes
5answers
9k views

Is it proper to state percentages greater than 100%? [closed]

Technically, "percent" should mean "for every hundred". So, I would think that it's perfectly fine to say "150%". However, in common usage, people rarely say percentages greater than a hundred. Is ...
32
votes
8answers
13k views

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and …?

When working in a 2D coordinate system you could say that X is the horizontal axis and Y is the vertical axis. Extending this to 3D, is there a similar word for the Z axis? (I'm aware of Width, ...
4
votes
4answers
836 views

What’s the correct usage of “modulo”?

How would we rephrase the following sentence to be grammatical? : 10 modulo 3 equals 1. By "grammatical", I probably mean something along the lines of standard American English. Initially, I'd ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “an A/B metaphor” mean?

I wonder what "an A/B metaphor" means, for example, in the following quote from Wikipedia about formal language: "In some applications, especially in logic, the alphabet is also known as the ...
3
votes
1answer
491 views

Reference for oral expression of mathematics [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to speak mathematics I am a narrator and have been asked to read several technical papers which have mathematics expressions in them. Is there a reference to help me ...
5
votes
5answers
517 views

“Let's/We let A be a variable”

Suppose I am giving a math talk and I am going to write on the board Let A be a variable. What do I say while I write? Can I say Let's let A be a variable or should I write We let A be a variable and ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it correct to say “times” in this context?

Consider the following: Math teacher: "How can we turn 42 into 420 through multiplication?" Student: "You times it by ten!" Is this usage of times correct? I hear it so often that I suspect ...
1
vote
2answers
219 views

Is “underlying” the right word?

I am describing a mathematical model, where the probability density function of a variable is made up of two contributions, two distributions. Mathematically we would say that f(x) = g1(x) + g2(x). ...
3
votes
4answers
349 views

posteriori and posterior

What are the differences in meaning and usage between posteriori and posterior? Particularly in probability, statistics and logic, when should I use which? For example, why are "max a posteriori" ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the name of this letter? [closed]

I came upon this letter when reading a book, I couldn't find its name on the internet, you can imagine how hard it is to search about it. What is the name of the letter that follows "sample space"? ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Word for a piece of a pie chart? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to name a part of a piechart What is the correct name for a shape which is like a triangle but with one edge circular, like a slice of cake?
4
votes
3answers
406 views

Why is the common meaning of logical terms ('and', 'or') incongruous from that in math?

If someone wrote that they want "nuts and bolts", they would get a bunch of hardware they could attach things with. If this was software or math, they would only receive nothing, because things are ...
3
votes
4answers
560 views

“Iterate” and “iteration” as nouns

What are the differences between iterate and iteration as nouns? I don't quite understand the definition of iterate as noun: A quantity arrived at by iteration For example, in computer ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

What reasoning is behind the names of the trigonometric functions “sine”, “secant” and “tangent”?

The meanings of these words are very similar: the sine of an angle in a right triangle is the ratio of the opposite side to the hypotenuse; the secant is the ratio of the hypotenuse to the adjacent ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Another word for “fraction” that fits in conversation like “percent”? [closed]

In programming I use values between 0 and 1 to represent percentages but the word percent means "one part in every hundred" (0-100). I've also heard people use permil for 'one part in every thousand" ...
112
votes
12answers
10k views

What do you call a disk with a hole in the middle?

Compact Discs, washers and Aerobie frisbees are all disks with a hole in the middle. Is there a word (either mathematical or not) to describe this shape? I mean the specific case of a round hole in a ...
4
votes
4answers
351 views

Word to describe a mathematical variable that repeats, like an angle or time

In mathematics a variable can be said to be constrained if it must lie within certain bounds, for example: 0 < x < 1 (the variable x is constrained: it lies between zero and one) However ...
3
votes
4answers
740 views

Origin of square and cube as verbs

Whence did the verbs 'square' and 'cube', in the sense (if there exist others) of 'to the second power' and 'to the third power' respectively, originate? There is some degree of similarity between the ...
2
votes
2answers
621 views

“Numerical Mathematics”

My friend is studying a subject called 'Numerical Mathematics and Computer Algorithms'. Surely mathematics is all about 'Numbers', so is ''Numerical Mathematics' a redundant statement? Please excuse ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

(k+1)th or (k+1)st?

Mathematicians commonly have to form ordinals from variables: you might look at the kth element of a sequence, for example. When the variable is a single letter, the ordinal is always formed with the ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I describe a “one or more” condition (one that has many options; a “non-boolean”)?

Generally speaking a boolean condition is understood to be an "either/or" relationship; for example, something is hot or cold. What's do you call a "one or more" condition, e.g. something that can ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

How to pronounce “nₒ” properly

People here (Hong Kong) like to pronounce n0 ("n subscript zero") as "N-nor"; "N-zero" seems to be acceptable. I am wondering what's the most popular pronunciation in English. I am actually a little ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the term for an integer one larger than a given integer?

I'm looking for a concise term to say a number must be exactly one higher than a previous number. None of "subsequent", "incremental", or "next" seem to convey the restriction that it must be ...
2
votes
3answers
169 views

Can 'area' be called 'plot'?

Can area from mathematics be called plot?
2
votes
3answers
587 views

Percentage expression

Is it correct to say "15 percent less than 25"? To me, it doesn't make 100% sense.