I am at the moment looking into technical English terms used in mathematics.
The terminology in fractions (such as 1/8, 2/8 etc.) is that the bottom is called the denominator and the top the numerator.
- The bottom makes sense as it denominates the fraction - it gives it it's name (one eighth, two eighths etc.).
- The top is a bit tricky for me. It counts the number of bits we have (one eighth, two eighths etc.) but can I say that it numerates the bits?
Does numerate mean count? Does the verb to numerate even exist? I am able to find many uses of it as a verb when searching (and Google Translate translates it to to give numbers or to number) but I am sitting with an official dictionary from my native language, and "to numerate" is not there.
Here is a screenshot of the online dictionary Ordbogen.com (in Danish):
It displays numerate as an adjective only, and to be numerate would be fine. This means a person who is good with numbers (in Danish: talkyndig) and is not really getting me closer to "counting" the bits in the fraction.
Maybe it is just a name invented for fractions with no other meaning to it than having something to do with numbers? An adjective over time turned into a noun? Or is my dictionary incomplete?
For reference (and this is the reason I am looking this up in detail in English) I can tell that the Danish equivalents are very, very logical and I was hoping the English versions were as well:
- The denominator is in Danish called nævneren, literally meaning the namer, and
- the numerator is in Danish called tælleren, literally meaning the counter.