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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18
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
2k 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 - ...
16
votes
7answers
13k 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
3k 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
599 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
927 views

Etymology of “regression”

What is the etymology of "regression" as in finding the coefficients of polynomials?
18
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
63
votes
8answers
7k 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
12k 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
346 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
38k views

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

Are there any differences between "oval" and "ellipse"?
7
votes
5answers
2k 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 * ...
12
votes
4answers
5k 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
3k 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 ...