110 votes
Accepted

Word that means the classification of a number as even or odd

Parity Mathematics (of a number) the fact of being even or odd. (Oxford Dictionaries)
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93 votes
Accepted

Why do we call it "combination lock"?

Because most people are not mathematicians. I know that sounds like a flippant answer, but it's genuinely the answer. There are many words which have a more precise (or even different) meaning for ...
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  • 74.6k
83 votes
Accepted

What is the binary equivalent to "decimal" and "decimal point"?

You can refer to this symbol as a radix point no matter what the base is. In computer science and mathematics, the word radix can mean the same thing as base or root. The contemporary meaning ...
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64 votes
Accepted

Rhetoric vs. Mathematics: ellipsis/ellipse, parable/parabola, hyperbole/hyperbola

In Ancient Greek, where both the rhetorical and geometrical terms were invented, they are the same words, employed in different figurative senses: A ‘parabole’ is a ‘casting/setting side by side’—...
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53 votes
Accepted

What is a term for an operator/function in which the order of parameters makes no difference?

I think the word you are looking for is commutative: (mathematics, of a binary operation) Such that the order in which the operands are taken does not affect their image under the operation. ...
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  • 1,182
50 votes

What is a term for an operator/function in which the order of parameters makes no difference?

You seem to be asking for the word for operations and functions. The word mathematicians generally use is different in the two cases. A function which does not depend on the order of the arguments is ...
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50 votes

Why do we call it "combination lock"?

combination is an unordered set of numbers That is incorrect in general English. It is called a combination lock because (in general English) a combination is "an ordered sequence" (Merriam-Webster ...
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37 votes

"Parametrise" or "parameterise" a curve?

This depends a bit on how one defines "correct". Various dictionaries might accept either or both uses. If you go by the scientific literature, both seem to be widely used. On the other hand, if ...
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  • 379
36 votes

What do you call a cylinder with a hole down the center?

A solid cylinder with an axial hole is still a cylinder. If the length of the cylinder is very much less than the diameter and the bore is small compared to the diameter it is a washer. If the length ...
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35 votes
Accepted

Can I say eight-gon, nine-gon and ten-gon instead of octa-, nona-, and deca-gon?

Mathematicians do use this form for bigger numbers. The Wikipedia article Heptadecagon currently contains the phrase "a regular 51-gon, 85-gon or 255-gon and any regular n-gon with 2h times as many ...
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  • 74.6k
25 votes
Accepted

What's the little number on the top of a number w/ unit?

In terms of formatting, numbers and letters that appear in the top half of a line are in superscript. Similarly, numbers in the bottom half of a line would be called subscript. "Super" and "sub" ...
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23 votes
Accepted

Is there a word for opposite numbers?

It's called the additive inverse. In a less technical context, you could just call them negatives of each other. Similarly, 5 and 1/5 are multiplicative inverses.
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  • 16.4k
21 votes
Accepted

What do you call a '>' relation between two unknowns?

The example you give, a > 2b, is called an inequality. In my grade-school math classes we used the term "inequality" to refer even to expressions like a ≥ 2b; language can be messy sometimes. ...
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21 votes

How to say "a<b<c"?

I would say “a is less than b which is less than c”. Just saying “a is less than b is less than c” is ambiguous about whether it’s a or b that is less than c.
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  • 1,495
20 votes

Rhetoric vs. Mathematics: ellipsis/ellipse, parable/parabola, hyperbole/hyperbola

These English terms derive indirectly from the respective Ancient Greek origins: ἔλλειψις (elleipsis): falling short / omission παρά- (pará-): "alongside" or "application" ὐπερ- (huper-): "exceed" ...
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  • 6,866
20 votes

How do you say "powers of ten"?

I express 3^4 as “three to the fourth power” You can say “base to the nth power” or “base to the power of n” It’s important to have the whole sentence to determine if it makes mathematical sense.
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20 votes

How do you say "powers of ten"?

While "ten to the power of two" is correct (and the "power" does indeed refer to the "two" in this construction), it's also possible and very common to drop the "power of", giving "ten to the two". ...
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  • 21k
18 votes

How to pronounce fractions with denominators larger than 20 where the last digit of the denominator is 1 or 2? eg 4/31

In the US, the general rule is the ordinal form is based on the last element in the numeral. sixty-eighth one hundred twenty-ninth one thousandth one thousand-seventh This does not ...
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  • 72k
18 votes

Can I say eight-gon, nine-gon and ten-gon instead of octa-, nona-, and deca-gon?

Short answer: no. Longer answer: you will probably be understood, but people will think it's strange. Almost all words in English have roots in other languages. For these words, you have correctly ...
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16 votes

What do you call a cylinder with a hole down the center?

Cylinder -Wiki Open Cylinder A cylinder -with the generating lines perpendicular to the bases, with its ends closed to form two circular surfaces- with a hole perpendicular to its base, is a right ...
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  • 8,754
16 votes
Accepted

What's the word for converting a positive number to negative one and negative to positive?

Negation absolutely is is the correct term to use here: it is a synonym of "additive inverse", as noted in the second sentence of its Wikipedia article. This is a well-defined mathematical operation ...
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  • 656
16 votes

Can "semicircle" be used to refer to a part-circle that is not a exact half-circle?

In English, the prefix semi- usually means partly, as in semiconscious or semiautomatic. But it can also mean half, as in semiannually, which always refers to something that happens every half-year (...
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15 votes
Accepted

What is the historical origin for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context?

This is what OED has to say about the origin: This use of the Latin functio is due to Leibniz and his associates. A paper in the Acta Eruditorum for 1692, pp. 169–170, signed ‘O.V.E.’, but probably ...
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  • 57.4k
14 votes
Accepted

Does rational come from ratio or ratio come from rational?

The mathematical meaning of ratio comes from the mathematical meaning of rational, which in turn comes from the mathematical meaning of irrational. The OED says that we get the word irrational from ...
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13 votes

What do you call a cylinder with a hole down the center?

Colloquially, i'd just call it a hollow cylinder.
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  • 4,565
13 votes
Accepted

Using "the" before name equations/theory like "the Maxwell's Equation", "the Archimedes Principle", etc

"The" is required when the name is not possessive: "the Kolmogrov Equation", "the Peter Principle", etc. However, omit "the" when the name is possessive: "...
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12 votes

How to pronounce fractions with denominators larger than 20 where the last digit of the denominator is 1 or 2? eg 4/31

Definitely a sixty-first and a sixty-second as far as I am concerned - no doubt about it. (Mid to South England) Not that either would come up very often!
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12 votes

What is the origin of the word "affine" in the context of mathematics?

It may help for the mathematically inclined to think about affine functions operating on a vector space and for the non-mathematically inclined to think about that familiar vector space, our three-...
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