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'Exponentiate' seems to fail spell checks and it doesn't appear to be valid in any official dictionaries that I can see. Though I do I see it used from time to time and see it in questionable "wiki" type online dictionaries.

I am interested to know if 'exponentiate' is a valid verb tense and perhaps just not yet codified - or if there's a grammatical (or semantic) reason that makes it invalid.

Just curious!

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    I abominate that people think they have to find a perfectly obvious word in one or another dictionary before they are allowed to use it.
    – tchrist
    Jul 26, 2021 at 23:45
  • Agreed - i’m interested as to why it fails spell check in the browser.
    – lys
    Jul 27, 2021 at 0:02
  • Interestingly ‘abominate’ surfaces in Mirriam Webster online - where ‘exponentiate’ doesn’t.
    – lys
    Jul 27, 2021 at 0:05
  • You will have to ask whoever wrote the software you're referencing what's wrong with it.
    – tchrist
    Jul 27, 2021 at 3:52
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    And heaven preserve us from spell checkers!
    – David
    Jul 27, 2021 at 18:14

1 Answer 1

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Since the Oxford English Dictionary is behind a paywall, I can't blame you for not surfacing this:

exponentiate, v.

Mathematics.

1. intransitive. To increase exponentially; also, more generally, to exhibit specified asymptotic behaviour as some limit is approached.

2. transitive. To raise e or some other base (BASE n.1 20) to the power of; to subject to exponentiation. Also absol.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

Here are a couple of usage examples supplied . . .

Intransitive:

1971   Physical Rev. D. 3 970   We find that the leading Regge-pole term arising from single-ladder-exchange exponentiates.

Transitive:

1978   Physics Lett. A. 64 477/2   By solving the operator equations in their full nonlinear form..we are able to exponentiate the logarithmic terms into power law singularities.

Go forth and exponentiate.

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  • Interesting! Thanks. Can you confirm whether it fails a spellcheck for you in the browser?
    – lys
    Jul 27, 2021 at 0:00
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    When I type exponentiate into this box, I get a red underline for a spelling error. Jul 27, 2021 at 0:39
  • Exactly! I wonder why..
    – lys
    Jul 27, 2021 at 1:38
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    In my experience as a mathematician, "exponentiate" is quite common in the transitive sense but not in the intransitive sense. Jul 27, 2021 at 1:56
  • I don't get an error for exponentiate in Google Chrome except if the language is 'English (United States)'. If I set the language to just 'English' the word is not underlined. Jul 27, 2021 at 20:05

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