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Origins of Mathematical Words

, 368 pages
October 2013



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Origins of Mathematical Words

A Comprehensive Dictionary of Latin, Greek, and Arabic Roots

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice

Do you ever wonder about the origins of mathematical terms such as ergodic, biholomorphic, and strophoid? Here Anthony Lo Bello explains the roots of these and better-known words like asymmetric, gradient, and average. He provides Greek, Latin, and Arabic text in its original form to enhance each explanation. This sophisticated, one-of-a-kind reference for mathematicians and word lovers is based on decades of the author's painstaking research and work.

Origins of Mathematical Words supplies definitions for words such as conchoid (a shell-shaped curve derived from the Greek noun for "mussel") and zenith (Arabic for "way overhead"), as well as approximation (from the Latin proximus, meaning "nearest"). These and hundreds of other terms wait to be discovered within the pages of this mathematical and etymological treasure chest.

Anthony Lo Bello is a professor of mathematics at Allegheny College and author of four volumes about Euclid's elements of geometry in the Middle Ages.

"A true labor of love, this book will delight mathematicians, especially graduate students. Others can only applaud the knowledge, curiosity, and delight Lo Bello brings to his work. VERDICT Enthusiastically recommended for comprehensive mathematical collections, graduate collections, and for every mathematician's bookshelf."

"This book is well-conceived... I don't think there has been a dictionary of mathematical words of this kind since 1994... I warmly recommend it."

"About a year and a half ago I was asking about the availability of good books on Latin and Greek roots of modern scientific terminology. I'm happy to discover that now there's a good one (for mathematics) in Anthony LoBello Origins of Mathematical Words. A Comprehensive Dictionary of Latin, Greek, and Arabic Roots. One of those dictionaries made to be read from cover to cover, really."

"This etymological dictionary is a very scholarly, reliable, highly recommendable book for everybody who is interested in the linguistic meaning and origin of the English mathematical terminology."

"It may be aimed at mathematicians, but anybody interested in etymology and the history of word usage will find much of interest here too."

"Olé, Anthony Lo Bello! Good Job! Your book is full of much more interesting material than I can describe and stuff into my allotted space."

"This book is a reliable resource for mathematics educators, mathematics historians, graduate students in the mathematical sciences, and anyone interested in the origins of many common mathematical words. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn, use, and understand correct mathematical terminology based on historical origins and meanings."

"This sophisticated, one-of-a-kind dictionary, based on decades of painstaking research by its charismatic author, will delight mathematicians and word lovers alike. It is a treasure-chest of rare gems, a godsend to all teachers of the subject and its history... Lo Bello's scholarship, combined with his refreshingly personal exposition, brings to mind Briggs' remark on reading Napier's Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio in 1614, 'I never saw a Book which pleased me better.'"

"In addition to mathematical explanation, [ Origins of Mathematical Words ] gives insight into the thinking of ancient mathematicians and hints and the winding paths of knowledge over the past two millennia. While aspects of this history are available in, say, The Oxford English Dictionary ( OED), the account here is more complete, more compelling, and geared to a mathematical reader... Origins of Mathematical Words is an engaging book that would be useful on any mathematician's shelf."

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