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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
63 views

Is 'sum' an okay replacement for 'problem'?

I've seen some people using the word sum as a substitute for the word problem, in a mathematical context even though the problem does not explicitly involve the addition operation. For example, We ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Word For the Process of Finding Return on Investment

I am told that if I invest $20 in this Apple Stock, in one years time there is a: 10% chance I'll get back $25 10% chance I'll get back $20 30% chance I'll get back $15 50% chance I'll get back $10 ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Rankings out of integer and a half?

When giving items a score its not uncommon to restrict values to make scoring easier. For example: I can give a movie a score out of 5 stars using only integers, i.e. 0,1,2,3,4,5. Or I can give a ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Using “of” before “whether” and general usage of “whether”

I was reading a mathematics text, and I came across a phrase which I thought was written incorrectly. There was a part of a sentence: ... it begs the question whether or not A=B. and I feel this ...
-1
votes
0answers
16 views

Grammatical number in formulation of mathematical problems

Let's consider this sentence: 'Find the X of these triangles'. I presume both variants are correct, but which is more common and sounds better in the place of X: 'radii' ('radiuses') or 'radius'?
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Inequality vs. Inequation, Equation vs. Equality

When talking about statements that two terms are mathematically (un-)equal (e.g., 1 = 1, 1 < 2, or 1 != 2), what is the correct notion for such mathematical statements? Are there special cases ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Which alternative is best English?

Are there any specific rules in English about how to refer to something that was introduced in the previous sentence? For example, compare these three sentences: Let X and Y be random variables ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Words describing constancy

Using only a single word in each case, I'm attempting to describe two different variations involving constancy of a certain attribute: Variation of an object without changing its weight. Variation ...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

Does “unioned” exist in the context of math?

In mathematics, if you have the sets A and B, you can build a new set C which is the union of A and B. I would like to say, something like Set C consists of the unioned sets A and B. but the ...
82
votes
27answers
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”?
3
votes
9answers
165 views

Word for “having horizontal and vertical directions” that a mathematician can use

As the title says, I'm looking for a word that means "having horizontal and vertical directions." The catch is that I'm a mathematician trying to describe notions similar to "horizontality" and ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Definite article in Maths: “(the) function f”

Is the definite article correct/necessary in sentences like the following? A line that intersects (the) circle C. We can see that (the) function f has a maximum at x=0. Draw a line past (the) edge E. ...
4
votes
1answer
982 views

Does rational come from ratio or ratio come from rational?

Going through law school we often used the latin phrase ratio decideni - meaning the reasoning of a decision. In this context we took the latin word ratio to mean thinking process. Recently I saw an ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Quarter Asteroidal Hypocycloid, in Layman's Terms

Take a gander at the hypocycloid. You may recognize the shape from the logo of an American football team... My question is, how do you describe the tip of one such shape in common parlance (in ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

“Total” relates to “sum” as X relates to “product”

In algebra, there is (as I see it) a subtle difference between “sum” and “total”: a sum is a term consisting of several summands that are added up,e.g., “5+5”, whereas the total is the result of this ...
111
votes
3answers
14k views

Why does “quadratic” describe second power when “quad” means “four”?

In mathematics, quadratic means "involving the second and no higher power of an unknown quantity or variable". But the prefix quad- usually describes something that has to do with four, such as ...
12
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
82 views

How can I describe the intersection between a circle and a curve?

I have a curve C and a point x in the curve. At the point x, I draw a circle B with radius r and centered at point x. That circle B will cut/intersection (with) the curve C as red sub-curve line. I ...
5
votes
5answers
474 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
312 views

Why do we hyphenate between numbers? Example: twenty-six

I have found many places that list the various rules on using hyphens in math, but nothing to explain why we have the rule. I have some students who are asking and I would like to be able to give ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

What's the word for the small square indicating a right angle in a geometric figure?

I'm talking about something in geometry notation and/or drafting, I think. It's the mini right-angle shape you can draw within an angle to indicate that it's ninety degrees. Posting from mobile, but ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

How did 'up to' evolve to mean 'regardless of', in maths?

Even the OED seems not to have featured it. I couldn't find an explanation on Etymonline. [Wikipedia:] If X is some property or process, the phrase "up to X" means "disregarding a possible ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Statistician's word for a distribution curve tailing less steeply to left or right

I know the word normal distribution. But what does a statistician call it when the curve of the distribution tails less steeply (ie falls more gradually) to the left or right?
133
votes
12answers
14k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

do you use “ The” with mathematical methods?

For intra-cluster relationships, we applied mathematical optimisation to choose the best tree produced by neighbour joining method. Or For intra-cluster relationships, we applied ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

How do you read powers and roots?

I'm wondering how do you read the following expressions. I have some guesses but I'd like someone to confirm whether my guesses are right and if there are other ways to read those numbers other than ...
24
votes
5answers
4k 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?
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Word for “1 of 3” [closed]

Is there a word (or two) for "N of M" form? Example: "2nd" is an ordinal number "5 November 1605" is a date "3 of 5" is a ...? Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
65 views

what is the preposition equivalent to “divided by” [duplicate]

"times" is the preposition equivalent to "multiplied by". what is the preposition equivalent to "divided by"?
1
vote
3answers
65 views

How to name the diagonals of a square so one can be told from the other?

A square has two diagonals, so how can I to name the separate diagonals if I want to distinguish one from another? I mean something like the up to down diagonal and the down to up diagonal. Do you ...
66
votes
8answers
8k views

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)
0
votes
2answers
56 views

When the article the is used before theorem names

When writing math papers, one sometimes has to refer to some famous theorems, for instance, the Pythagorean theorem. Shall I write "by Pythagorean theorem", or "by the Pythagorean theorem". When ...
2
votes
3answers
122 views

What is the word for an arbitrary simple example, typically used with proofs?

Typical usage is with math, or philosophy, proofs. Also typically the simple example disproves the theory, but is of a arbitrarily contrived nature and not something that would naturally arise. Is ...
1
vote
1answer
219 views

Word for position and direction

I'm looking for a word that encapsulates both an object's position and direction. Similar words: a "point" has just a position. a "vector" has a direction and magnitude an "orientation" has just a ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Layman-accessible nouns for the intersection and union of sets of appointments

I'm looking for layman-accessible nouns (or concise descriptions) for the union and intersection of sets of appointments, in the context of planning software. In this scenario appointments between an ...
6
votes
3answers
691 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
734 views

Antonym of all: none, not all, both?

If you ask someone what the opposite of "all" was, most times the answer will be "none", such as the example of "no one" is the opposite of "everyone". There are three antonyms for "all" on ...
16
votes
1answer
10k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
557 views

How do you explain cubic growth of a function

When reading scientific papers I have seen people explain the growth of a variable linearly, exponentially. However how would one say for a variable which grows in quadratic fashion, or cubic? I ...
1
vote
3answers
177 views

Word for a “cell” in a 3×3 matrix

In a 2×2 matrix the intersection of a single row and column can be referred to as a quadrant. Is there a corresponding or more general term for a 3×3 matrix?
15
votes
7answers
3k views

How to pronounce fractions larger than a twentieth, where the last digit of the denominator is a 1 or a 2? i.e. one thirtieth is to 30 as _ is to 31

Disclaimer: I speak British English. I've noticed a lot of differences between the way Americans and Brits pronounce numbers.1 Since the question concerns this, I thought it might be appropriate to ...
2
votes
1answer
442 views

“exact soluble model” or “exact solvable model”, “analytic” or “analytical” solutions

In physical science and math, we encounter some models that can be analytically solved. This means that the properties of models are fully understood and determined by the analytical solutions. In ...
2
votes
2answers
153 views

What do you call the intersection of a rectangle and a circle?

The intersection of two rectangles is called a corner, but is there a word for the intersection of a rectangle and a circle? Is it still a corner? This picture I made probably explains it better: ...
2
votes
3answers
226 views

Term for numbers that have at least one non-zero significant digit after the decimal point?

So, a number that is nothing but fractions is "fractional". A number that has a whole number and a fraction is "mixed", if you want to call it that. And the portion after the decimal point is called ...
1
vote
1answer
660 views

Why are decimals read as fractions by some cultures?

I find it very strange that the top results on Google for "how to read decimal" give me a very strange way to read them - as fractions. I have learnt to read the digits individually and it makes a ...
8
votes
1answer
229 views

How to punctuate math fractions?

I was doing the Writing and interpreting decimals exercise on Khan Academy and was asked the following question: What is nine and three hundred two thousandths in numerical form? I read it as ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call a fraction that cannot be written as a finite decimal?

For example, the fraction ⅓ cannot be written, because it repeats infinitely (0.33333333... etc). Is there a particular word for numbers that cannot be written directly, but must be expressed as ...
2
votes
1answer
674 views

Capitalization and hyphenation for prefixed adjectives derived from proper names in mathematics

In mathematics, it often occurs that the last names of famous mathematicians are used as adjectives with mathematical meaning. Most of these adjectives are written with a capital letter. Then, ...
2
votes
1answer
178 views

How to make this sentence shorter?

It appears that this site does not support LaTeX, so sorry for the ugly formatting. I would like to explain the sentence Let X ~ N(mu_x, sigma_x^2) and Y ~ N(mu_y, sigma_y^2). with plain ...
1
vote
3answers
154 views

Colloquial meaning of 'exponential decrease'

I often have a hard time figuring out exactly what is meant when exponential/ly is used outside of mathematics. This is especially true for exponential decrease. Take the sentence: The number of ...