Tagged Questions

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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9
votes
4answers
1k views

Pronunciation of the big-O notation

How should I pronounce the following things? (These are complexities of algorithms.) O(n) O(n*log(n)) O(n^2)
4
votes
4answers
304 views

What can I call the two possible directions on a line (as a category)?

In English, a vector is said to have two properties: a length and a direction. The possible directions correspond to half-lines out of the origin (so that, eg, up and down are different directions). ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

How is a' in mathematics pronounced?

It often happens that two or more similar values are distinguished with the ' symbol, e.g. a, a', a'' and similar. How is this pronounced?
8
votes
4answers
6k views

“Lower number” vs. “smaller number”

Is −9 a smaller number than −8? And is −9 a lower number than −8? What is the difference between lower and smaller here?
33
votes
6answers
26k views

Use of “I”, “we” and the passive voice in a scientific thesis [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Style Question: Use of “we” vs. “I” vs. passive voice in a dissertation When the first person voice is used in scientific writing it is mostly ...
2
votes
4answers
329 views

Word for the relation between two different generalisations

I'm looking for a word for the relation between two concepts that are both different generalisations of the same concept. As an example, take the scalar product and cross product between vectors, from ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Where does the word “totient” come from?

In math we learn about the "totient function". It rhymes with "quotient" when math teachers pronounce it. But I cannot find the definition or etymology of this word in any dictionary, nor on any ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the derivation of the statistical term “Histogram”?

There are conflicting definitions of origin. Unclear as to whether it is derived directly from the Greek, coined by Pearson, or used and named prior to Pearson. Refer to "The History of Histograms - ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

Does “either A or B ” preclude “both A and B”?

In mathematics, "A or B" includes "A and B". Does "either" mean "A or B but not (A and B)" or does it include the possibility of "A and B"? The context might be mathematics, formal logic or ordinary ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a shorter term for “divided by” in American English?

Given the following expression: 5 (+-×÷%) 4 You would say "5 plus 4," "5 minus 4," "5 times 4," "5 divided by 4," and "5 mod(ulo) 4" respectively. As far as I know, "divided by" does not have ...
1
vote
5answers
580 views

y with respect to t

In math, you say: velocity is the rate of change of position with respect to time. I'm looking for a better, mathematically correct way to say that, without using the phrase with respect to and ...
6
votes
2answers
627 views

Etymology of “regression”

What is the etymology of "regression" as in finding the coefficients of polynomials?
16
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do we say “lowest common denominator” when we mean “greatest common divisor”?

For example, we could say HTML is the lowest common denominator on the web", because one can be sure all web browsers are able to render HTML (but not Flash or Java). If I want my web page to show ...
14
votes
5answers
10k views

Difference between “computation” and “calculation”

If the words computation and calculation are not perfect synonyms what is the difference between them? Which one describes more accurately what is done by a person computing or calculating something ...
56
votes
8answers
6k views

Is -1 singular or plural?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? Edit: I am interested in both of these cases: "two things minus one thing(s)" and the quantity "minus/negative one thing(s)." Bounty: While there are some good ...
9
votes
2answers
9k views

Should I use the singular or plural verb in mathematical formulae (“Two and two make/makes four”)?

I remember somebody correcting me once when I said, "Two and two makes four", since the conjunction and would imply the use of a plural verb. They would prefer I said: Two and two make four. ...
3
votes
4answers
301 views

Use of the word “convergent”

This question is for people who know some mathematics. Is it correct to say The sequence is convergent to 0. Normally we say: The sequence converges to 0.
8
votes
4answers
27k views

Are there any differences between “oval” and “ellipse”?

Are there any differences between "oval" and "ellipse"?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a word for a class of circular shapes?

I'm not sure if this belongs here, but I'm wondering if there is a word for a class of circular shapes? Thinking about this hierarchically: * Shape * Polygon * Square * Rectangle * ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I form a word like “quadruple” for any number I want?

I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Transform or transformation?

Is there a difference between the words transform (noun) and transformation? Let me describe my problem. I have a mathematical model which I can transform into a better model with help of a data ...