# 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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### 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)?
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### 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 ...
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### 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.
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### 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.
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### 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 ...
32k 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, ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### “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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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). ...
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### 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" ...
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### 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"? ...
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### 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?
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### 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 (...
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### “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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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" (...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### “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 ...
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### (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 ...
2k 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 ...
5k 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 ...
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 ...
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### Can 'area' be called 'plot'?

Can area from mathematics be called plot?
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### Percentage expression

Is it correct to say "15 percent less than 25"? To me, it doesn't make 100% sense.
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### 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)
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### 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). ...
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### 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?
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### “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?
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### 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 used ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 web-...
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### 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 - ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Etymology of “regression”

What is the etymology of "regression" as in finding the coefficients of polynomials?
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### 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 ...
23k 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 ...
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### Is -1 singular or plural?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? I am interested in both two things minus one thing(s) and minus/negative one thing(s)
17k 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. I'...
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### 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.
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### Are there any differences between “oval” and “ellipse”?

Are there any differences between "oval" and "ellipse"?
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### 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 * ??????...