A  Set

of

Mathematical

Equivoques


 

 

For better or worse these “definitions” are my own creation.  Undoubtedly my tilted point of view comes from years of working crossword puzzles and from a general passion for words and wordplay.  I am writing this material with the hope of entertaining some kindred spirits and with the hope of planting a few seeds of the wonderful culture of mathematics into the imagination of students here and there.  Over time I will continue to fill in with more “?” marks denoting the availability of explanations and links that I hope will make this site more useful, especially to students.

 

Comments?  Contributions?  Corrections?  You can email them to me at ksuman@winona.edu.

 

 

Ken Suman

Initially Posted on 8/12/2006,   Lasted Edited on 4/15/2015.

 


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  XYZ

 

A                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.    

Abelian  109 or 1012 depending on whether you studied math or maths at school

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Abscissa – a person who is self absorbed with their abs

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Absolute Geometry – geometry that doesn’t play fair

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Absolute Value – nonnegotiable price

 

Absorbing State“You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.”

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Abundant Number – a lot

 

Acceptance Sampling – launching a trial balloon

 

Acousmatic – someone who is quick to point fingers

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Adding Machine – a good summer

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Additive Identity – alias

 

Adèle Group – the Astaire’s

 

Adenine – nucleotide that takes 1 to 10

 

Adiabatic Law – always monitor your glucose level

 

Affine Variety – what a good store carries

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Agonic – someone who lives in the past

 

Airport Problem – when you lose your in flight internet connection

 

Alethic – stout

 

Alexander Polynomial Iksander, Richard Burton, Colin Farrell, but apparently not Leonardo DiCaprio

 

ALGOL – what Julius Caesar divided into three parts

 

Aliorelative – onion

 

Aliter – a little more than a quart

 

Aliquot – “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”

 

Allegory – Tipper’s husband when in Rome

 

Almost Everywhere – where kudzu grows

 

Almost Surely – Shirley

 

Alternating GroupAnimagi

 

Alternation – Vatican City

 

Amenable Group – The Beatles

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Amicable Pair – good friends

 

Amphibology – switch pitching

 

Analemma Curve – slant eight

 

Anallagmatic – Wrangler blue jeans

 

Analysis – denouement

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Analysis of Variance – psychotherapy

 

Analytic Geometry – creole

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Annealing – genuflecting

 

Annihilator – “weapon of math destruction”

 

Annuluswhat the unhappy couple asked the priest to do

 

AnsatzA ‘Convenient’ Truth

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Anticlastic – indivisible

 

Anticomplement – a disparaging word

 

Antinomy – what’s added to textiles to make them flame retardant (and carcinogenic?)

 

Antipode – an acrobat who juggles with their feet

 

Antiset – flavoring for those delicious Italian cookies

 

Antitone – ‘ill conditioned’

 

a -Partite Graph – government corruption in South Africa between 1948 and 1994

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Apeiron – what Oprah did on The Late Show

 

Apex – 16 gallons

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Apothem what the bluetick pup treed

 

ApotomeThe Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 17 volumes, James Harrison, editor

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Arbelos – where the pirate said the supplies were

 

Arcuate – without error

 

Arithmetic GeometryArithmetic on the Frontier

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Arrow of Time – an anachronism

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Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem – what goes up must come down (assuming we ignore the potential effect of dark energy and trees)

 

Astroid – a tag for Elroy’s dog

 

Asymptote – how the farmer got his lame donkey home

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Automorphic Form – hardtop convertible

 

Autoregression – PT Cruiser

 

Autos Ephacarpeter (carpet layer)

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Average – to bid farewell to the anger within

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Axiom of ChoiceThe Importance of Being ‘Ernst’

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Axis – sacks

 

B                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Back Substitution – artificial disk replacement

 

Baire Category – ursine breed

 

Baire Space – ‘polar plot’

 

Ballot Problem – rigged election

 

Bandit Problems – when DoD money dries up for consulting inside the beltway

 

Barber’s Paradox – stylist’s knot

 

Basel Problem – skin cancer

 

Basin of Attraction – the bathroom sink

 

Bayes’ Rule – wash the tub after each use

 

Beat the Dealer – Military Commissions Act provision for getting information out of Afghan opium traffickers

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Bell NumbersCambridge Surprise Major, Little Bob Minor, Grandsire Triples, …

 

Bematist Goalpari passu

 

In the time of Alexander the Great (356 BC – 323 BC) surveyors were trained in the skill of maintaining a fixed length pace, a bema (βήμα), over long distances.  The bema was the distance between successive steps and was roughly two and a half feet.  These human pedometers were called bematists and were able to stay within 1/100 of a bema with each step!

 

It is a persistent legend that Eratosthenes (276 BC – 194 BC) hired bematists to measure the distance from Alexandria to Syene as part of his famous effort to determine the size of the Earth.  This story is beautifully told in the children’s book The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky and is definitely worth reading by “kids” of all ages.

 

The Romans, in contrast to the Greeks, defined a pace (Latin passus) as the distance that would bring a land surveyor (Latin agrimensore) back to the same foot (i.e. roughly five feet).  Pari is Latin for “equal” and thus the phrase pari passu translates literally from the Latin as “equal pace”. 

 

Putting this together, we have that the goal of a bematist (Greek) is to maintain an equal pace, which is the literal translation of the (Latin) phrase pari passu.

 

Pari passu is now used as a legal phrase with the general meaning of “on equal footing”.  The phrase is also used in finance with the meaning “at the same rate”.

 

e.g.  All creditors will be treated pari passu.  Incomes for middle class and wealthy families were not increasing pari passu.

 

The equating of these Greek and Latin phrases apparently has no historical basis.  But that is okay as there is a word for such invented linguistic miscegenations – it’s called macaronic.

 

And as any Italian restaurateur will tell you, the best way to top off a meal of macaroni like this is with a slice of pari passu, that delicious Italian dessert made with mascarpone cheese.  But then that would be a malapropism and that’s another story altogether.  Fortunately, linguists will forgive all if you say it with a big enough smile.

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Benford’s Law – “One is the likeliest number that you’ll ever know.  Two is not as likely as one, but it’s the likeliest number since the number one.”

 

Bias – the two words parents hear most on the cereal aisle

 

Bicorn – an option at the Merc

 

Bicursal – the ability to swear in two languages

 

Big-Endian, Little-EndianMuch Ado About Nothing

 

Big M Method – product bundling

 

Big O Notation – Oscar Robertson’s number

 

Bing Sling – a highball with a cherry

 

Binit – when you’ve had your turn in tag

 

Biplot – selecting your final retirement location

 

Birthday Problem – old age

 

Block Scheduling – filibuster

 

BLUE – bummed

 

Bonnet Net – snood

 

Borda Count – 2(A I +1) when in Boston

 

Boundary Condition – terminal case

 

Braneworld – “There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man.”

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Brownian Motion – when a Girl Scout moves to recess

 

Butterfly Effect Because a Little Bug Went Ka-choo!

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Butterfly Effect – Psyched

 

C                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Calculemus – Machiavellian motto

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Calculus – the Flintstone’s daughter

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Canard SolutionDuck Soup

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Canonical Analysis – weapons inspection

 

Cantor Dust – what a horse kicks up

 

Cantor’s Middle Third Set – second of an hazan’s three part performance

 

Cardinal Characteristic – bright red cassock and zucchetto

 

Carnap Rule – never wake a baby who has fallen asleep in a car seat

 

Casting Out Nines – pitching your niblicks

 

Catenary – without even a hint of malice or spite

 

Catenoid – what you get if you grab a tiger by the tail

 

Cattle Problem – BSE

 

Centroids – Emperor Palpatine’s (a.k.a. Darth Sidious) strategy for invading Naboo

 

Ceteris Paribus – Elsie the Cow

 

Cheney’s Card Trick – WHIG

 

Chudnovsky Brothers – piquant

 

Church’s Thesis – God exists

 

Cissoid – an impolite way to describe your elder sister

 

Clinure – the two words kids hear most re their room

 

CliquesSka Geeks, Metalheads, Goths, Punks, …

 

Closed Function – a private party

 

Clustering Illusionapophenia

 

Cochain – what Joe Paterno is known for

 

Cofactor – someone faking a cold

 

Cofinal – what you have when students collude on the end of term exam

 

Collatz Problem – when pages of your exam are out of order

 

Column Spacestoa

 

Combinatorics on Words – magnetic poetry

 

Common Knowledge – heard throughout the dining hall

 

Commutative Group – carpoolers

 

Commutator – a spud-nik

 

Complement of a Set – best wishes to the newlyweds

 

Complete Pivoting – an about-face

 

Completing the SquareThe Princess Diaries

 

Complex Analysis – study connecting guilt, inferiority, God, persecution, martyrs and nice guys

 

Complex Numbers – Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Liszt’s Transcendental Etude No. 5, and Chopin’s Etude No. 1, Op.10.

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Complex Plane – the F-22A Raptor

 

Comprehensive Exam – day of reckoning

 

Conic Section – where Dilbert lives

 

Conjunction – The Joint

 

Construction Tools – Erector Set

 

Continued Fraction – an ongoing part

 

Contour Map – what tourists use at Alcatraz

 

Contrapositive – Oliver North’s point of view

 

Control Group – Agents 86 and 99, Chief, Larabee and Hymie

 

Cook’s Theorem – “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”

 

Coprimes – bop, hop, lop, mop, pop, sop, top, …

 

Corner Test – an autopsy

 

Correlation Implies Causationcum hoc, ergo propter hoc

 

Coset – Jean Valjean’s daughter

 

Cossic Artpysanky

 

Countability of the Rationals – "Everyone is crazy except you and me … and sometimes I wonder about you."

 

Critical PathMain Street

 

Critical Point – exigency

 

Cross Product – double cross

 

Crunode – Bordeaux

 

C-Space – an ocean

 

Curve of Constant Width – spotting everyone the same number of points

 

Cylinder – what the revenuer asked the bootlegger

 

D                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Damped Sinesine die

 

Data Mining – planting a nihilartikel

 

Data Snooping – what Sherlock Holmes does

 

Decanting Problems – what Socrates, Martin Luther, Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei had

 

Decimal SystemPowers of Ten

 

Degenerate Locus – a real boor

 

Degree Sequence – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

 

Deleted Neighborhood – aftereffect of an urban renewal project

 

Demand Curve – what students often do

 

Dequeue – ice cream parlor

 

Deranged Permutations – ‘mental mathematics’

 

De Revolutionibus – the VW Splittie

 

DiagnosticPat Robinson’s war cry

 

Diagonally – where Harry Potter shops

 

Diameter – a vending machine that eats dimes

 

Didactic NumbersTake It to the Limit (Eagles), Operator (Jim Croce), Circle (Harry Chapin), Revolution (Beatles)

 

Digital Computer – a Chisenbopper

 

Digital Root – toe hold

 

Digon – typical problem with board games

 

Directed Graph – organized crime

 

Disquisitiones – The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band …

 

Divisible – when the gaming cube is in sight

 

Dixon’s Identity – Leslie McFarlane

 

DNA Computers – ‘genetic algorithms’

 

Dot Product – husband

 

Double Blind – taking an eye for an eye

 

Double Blind – turning on your bright lights in retaliation

 

Double Dotperidot

 

Double Edged Ruler – benevolent dictator

 

Double Negative Elimination – when it’s two strikes and you’re out

 

Doubling the Cube – what you do in backgammon to squeeze your opponent out

 

Dual Space – field of honor

 

Dunnett's Test – a quiz to see who has done their homework

 

Dyadwhat TiVo lets you say to commercials

 

DyscalculiaWhy Johnny Can’t Add

 

E                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Elementary Row Operation – feathering

 

EnqueueAre You Being Served ?

 

Epistemic JustificationAmerican Pie

 

Epols – run over the rise

 

Equals – online qualifying exams

 

Equant – mathematical financier who works online

 

Error Correcting Code – the “you break it, you own it” rule

 

Escher’s Ascending and Descending – going Up the Down Staircase

 

Essential Supremum – theism

 

Euler – Jiffy Lube employee

 

Euler Criteria – every 3 months or 3000 miles

 

Euler Line – slippery slope

 

Eversion – online adaptation

 

Evil Twin Strategy – designing a spoof WiFi hot spot with the intent of intercepting sensitive data

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Evolutionary Operation – phylogenetic systematics

 

Existence Theoremcogito, ergo sum

 

Existential Quantifier – agnostic

 

Explement – what it takes to be The Compleat ‘Angle’

 

Extraction of Roots – pulling teeth

 

Extraneous Roots – outside sources

 

F                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Fair Division – proper fraction

 

Fair Game – open target

 

Faltings’ Theorem – it’s easier to find it than accept it

 

Farey SeriesTales of the Brothers Grimm

 

Fatigue Failure – when your army pants wear out

 

Feller Property – prostate gland

 

Ferrari's Method – give it at least a 6 liter, 12 cylinder, 540 horsepower engine

 

Fictitious PlaySpringtime for Hitler

 

Field Axioms – ground rules

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Field Extension – one way to make it a pitcher’s park

 

Field’s Medal – potassium

 

Field Theory – “If you build it, they will come.”

 

Field Theory – agronomy

 

Figurate Numbers – 8, 88, 888, …

 

Final StateNew Jersey

 

Fisher’s Exact Test – a hanging scale

 

Fisher Information – depth finder

 

Fixed Point – what a pencil sharpener gives you

 

Flexagon – what happens when you get old

 

Floor Function – to “give me a place to stand” (pou sto)

 

Floor Function – to make sherry

 

Fluid Flow – a runny nose

 

Focal Cord – it vibrates to make sounds

 

Forcing – new suit bid by responder

 

Formalist Mathematics – The Great Game

 

Formally Real Field – Giant’s Stadium

 

FORTRAN – what the general did

 

Fourier Series – a line of shoes that comes in widths extra wide to extra narrow

 

Four Squares Theorem – four squares a day will soon make you round

 

Free Group – emancipated ones

 

Freshman’s Dream – a 4.0

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Frieze Pattern – snowflake

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Full Adder – Adderall

 

Functional Analysis – a checkup

 

Fundamental Group – supporting the APA

 

Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic – the Great Divide

 

Fuzzy Addition – dim sum

 

G                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Game of Life – Samsara

 

Game Theory – rules of play

 

Generated FieldA New Kind of Science

 

Genetic AlgorithmsMr. Holland’s (Magnum) Opus

 

Genetic Algorithms – ‘DNA computers’

 

Geoboardweltschmerz

 

Gibbs SamplingBee Gees : Number Ones

?

GIMPS – Great Internet Mathematical Pun Search

 

Gnomon – first rule at an all girls school

 

God’s Algorithm – stella octangula

?

Goldbach Conjecture – (Copper, Silver, Gold) maps to (Gödel, Escher, Bach)

 

Golden Ratio – karat

 

Goniometry – joint analysis

 

Goodness of Fit Test – trying on a new pair of shoes

 

Gradient – your mother’s aunt

 

Gradus SuavitatisThe Sound of Music

 

Grasshopper Sequence – 28 (B.A.), 30 (M.A.), 34 (Ph.D.), 83 (Commodore), 85 (Admiral)

 

Gray CodeWest Point regulations

 

Greatest Common Divisor – a wedge issue

 

Great Paradox – the Mayo Brothers

 

Grok Mathematics – “turn coffee into theorems”

 

Guthrie's Problemfascism

 

H                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Haar Function – to keep your head warm

 

Habeas CorpusThe Texan’s Detain Law Massacre

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Hairy Ball Theorem – “If you’ve got a taste for terror, then take Carrie to the prom.”

 

Half-Open – ajar

 

Half Space – overtrick bonus (points above the line)

 

Half Spaceen

 

Halting Problem – faulty brakes

 

Harmonic Number – a blues harp tune

 

Harmonic Series – lick

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Heaviside Cover-Up Method – wearing loose fitting clothes

 

Hero’s Formula – rescue the damsel in distress, smile, wave

 

Hexafoil – amulet

 

Higher Arithmetic – celestial reckoning

 

Higher Arithmetic Conference – summit

 

Hilary Term – 2008 2012 ?

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Hippopede – hoof

 

Hitting Time – 16 or less

 

Homaloidal SpaceFlatland

 

Homomorphism – reparative therapy (see Nonstandard Analysis)

 

Horner’s Method – sticking a thumb in

 

Horocycle – 12

 

Hotel InfinityMGM Grand Las Vegas

 

I                                                                                                  Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

i i  eye to eye

 

i x i – cross-eyed

 

2i – ogle

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5i – eye for an eye

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Ideal Class – “where everyone is above average”

 

Ideal Pointmot juste

 

Idempotent – a powerful token

 

Ill Conditioned – ‘antitone

 

Illegal Operation – medical malpractice

 

Ill-Posed Problem – hidden faces in a group photo

 

Imaginary NumbersFantasia Mathematica

 

Immanantnomen ambiguum (re immanent, imminent, eminent and emanant)

 

Incircles – how we often run

 

Inclusion-Exclusion Principle – ACT/SAT scores

 

Incomplete Design – adumbration

 

Indeterminate Form amorphous

 

Infinite MeanGreat Expectations

 

Inspection Paradox – it usually takes longer than it usually takes

 

Insphere – how too many people live

 

Integration by Parts – gradual desegregation

 

Integration by Substitution – forced busing

 

Into Mapping – a cartographer

 

Inverse Probability

Probability seems to remain

An idea I’ve yet to attain.

I was sure I played right

In my poker tonight,

But my fortune it went down the drain.

?

Inversiondernier cri

 

Involutioncontronym

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Ising Problem – being a note behind and a step off-key

 

Iterated Series – reruns

 

J                                                                                                  Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Jordan Normal Form – just over 30 ppg

 

K                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

K2 – Austin Godwin

 

Kaprekar NumberClaudette Colbert (Ellie) shows off her leg

 

KernelBlotto’s rank

 

Kissing Number – count your buss-ings

 

Klein Bottle – a small carafe

 

Knapsack Problem – a sleeping bag that’s too small

 

Knot Curve – straight

 

Knot Equivalence – difference

 

Know It All Number999 !

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L                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Lah Number – six in the solfa

 

L'Analyse des Infiniment Petits – nanotechnology

 

Language of Arithmetic – Adder’s Tongue

 

Latin Square Cato the Elder

 

Lattice-Ordered Group – everyone at the table who wanted a salad

 

Law of Sines – stop, yield, and no passing

 

Law of the Excluded Middle – the U distribution

 

Law of Truly Large Numbers – 2À0 = À1  is undecidable

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Leading Digit – forefinger

 

Least Favorable Distribution – corridor of uncertainty

 

Least Favorable Prior – the most disliked person in the abbey

 

Least Squares – hippest

 

Left Censoring – aphesis

 

Liber Abaci – a showman with a silver candelabrum

 

Lie Group – Army of Northern Virginia

 

Lim Sup – cannibal favorite on cold damp days

 

Littlewood’s Law – “then a miracle occurs” occurs

 

Local Min or Local Maxperipeteia

 

Loess – s

 

Logarithm – poetry

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Logistic Curve – procurement snag

 

Logit – how to harvest a forest

 

Long Tailmegillah

 

Lorenz Curve – when your cheap apartment suddenly quits being cheap

 

LuneMinnesota’s state bird

 

M                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Mahler’s Number – a thousand (an orchestra of 250 and a chorus of 750)

 

Majorant – army ant

 

Majorize – bring up to the bigs

 

Maltitude – a large gathering at the shopping center

 

Markov Chains – used to mark off first downs

 

Mathemagicianruler of Digitopolis

 

Mathematical Maturitymusemathematics

?

Mathesis – “We may be coming to a new golden age of instrument making.”

 

Mathesis Universalis – Catholic reckoning

 

MathSciNetThe Paper Chase r

 

Matric – Beltane ring and run

 

Measure Preserving TransformationMeasure for Measure

 

Mellin Transformhoneylope

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Memoryless Property – amnesia

 

Mental Mathematics – ‘deranged permutations’

 

Meter – what Cary Grant hoped to do atop the Empire State Building

 

Method of Exhaustion – a form of torture, regardless …

 

Method of False Position – playing the devil’s advocate

 

Method of Washers – agitate, rinse and spin

 

Minorant – pet peeve

 

MinuendsYehudi and his two sisters

 

Minus Five – Paul Desmond standard

 

Misomaths – adenoids

 

Mod 3Pete, Linc and Julie

 

Modulus – when you are not as fashionable

 

Monster-Barring – what a night light is for

?

Monster Group – Titans

 

Monty Hall Problem – “To switch, or not to switch : that is the question:”

 

Moore Space – what everybody wants in their garage

 

Music of the Spheres – tinnitus

 

Mutatis Mutandis – put on a fresh diaper

 

N                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Nadir – a spoiler

 

Napoleon’s ProblemWaterloo

 

Natural Numbers – 7-11

 

Negatively Oriented – critical

 

Neusis Construction – when your mom is pregnant with a baby girl

?

Neutral GeometerThe No-Sided Professor

?

Nilpotent – weak

 

Nine Point Circle – SCOTUS at a round-table

 

Nodated – stag

 

NonnegativeAntigone

 

Non-Orientable n-ManifoldLost n-Space

 

Nonstandard Analysis – method outside of the APA Practice Guidelines

 

Nontransitive – not admitting a theodolite

 

Nowhere Dense – polymath

 

Nowhere Differentiable – identical

 

Null Space – vacuum

 

Number Sense – anesthesia

 

O                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

ObeliskAsterix’s comic sidekick

 

Oblate – recently

 

Occupancy Problem – Iraq

 

Ogive – how one requests a home on the range

 

OloidRolie Polie Olie

 

One-Tailed – Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell and Emily Bronte

 

One-to-One Correspondence – tête-à-tête

 

Open and Shut the Doors Problem – Jim Morrison’s addictions

 

Operations Research – surgical trials

 

Operator – someone who wouldn’t enjoy Fermat’s Last Tango

 

Ordered Group – plebes

 

Order of Operations – anesthetize before cutting

 

Order Statistics – accounts payable records

 

Organon – popular way to Toccata and Fugue in D Minor listen

 

Outlier – someone who gets a tan the old fashioned way

 

Overdamped – soggy

 

Ovoid – to eschew

 

P                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Painlevé Equation – take two aspirin and get some rest

 

Pangeometry – what The Elements made Sylvester do

 

Paradigms – 20 cents

 

Parity Error – as in commited, writen, and commitee

 

Partial Fraction – a tiff

 

Partial Order – appetizers

 

Partial Summation – half adder

 

Partition into Distinct Parts – ability grouping

 

Partition into Odd Parts – gerrymander

 

Pedal Point – At the very moment Johann Sebastian Bach started his command performance of Toccata in F Major (BWV 540) for his benefactor Prince Leopold, Bach’s youngest son, (P.D.Q. Bach, 21st of his 20 children) sat on a bass pedal of the organ.  J.S. Bach had no choice but to play on as if this sustained bass pedal note was intentional.  It took 54 bars but Bach’s second wife, Anna Magdalena, was eventually able to extract P.D.Q. from that bass pedal.  This incident, led musicologist Peter Schickele to describe P.D.Q. Bach as “the worst musician ever to have trod organ pedals.”

?

Perfect Field – Elysian

 

Perfect FieldField of Dreams

 

Perigees – a straight angle (i.e. two right turns)

 

Perigees – Leslie Caron

 

PerimeterThe Outer Limits

 

Permutation – counter counter proposal

 

Philo’s Line – “The triple pillar of the world transform'd into a strumpet's fool: behold and see.”

?

Phyllotaxis – what the “Sons of Liberty” had had

 

Picard’s Method – ask Data

 

Pick’s Rule – you cut, I pick

 

Pillow Problems – stiff necks

 

Plateau’s Law – good employees within an organization will enthusiastically advance to the highest level open to them but will then ultimately retire on the job

 

Playfair’s Axiom – the fundamental rule of the playground

 

Poisson Processtrawling

 

Polar Axis – Alaskan adzes

 

Polar Coordinate – a bare spot

 

Polar Plot – ‘Baire space’

 

Polya Process – census

 

Polygon – bird flu

 

Polykay – KKK

 

Polytope – shiver of sharks

 

Pons Asinorum – bridge to a clean and dry county

 

Porism – one “who works with a negligent hand”

 

PositiveBeyond the Zero

?

Positively Skewed – definitely in big trouble

 

Posterior Bayes Risk – the potential for hurting your backside in the tub

 

Pothenot Problem – when the next rest area is another hundred miles

 

Power of a Point – they stymie opponents when made in debates or backgammon

 

Power Tower – utility pole

 

P Problem – UTI

 

Prime – a run of six made points

 

Prime Elements – B, N, K, V, I  and others

 

Prime Factors – most important reasons

 

Prime Ring – the Mob

 

Principal Ideal Domain – Garden of Eden

 

PrincipiaFortinbras

 

Prisoner’s Dilemma – orange dye is both necessary and sufficient for big-house fashion

 

Prisoner’s Problem – “Who is Number 1?”

 

Probabilistic Methodcleromancy

 

Probit Analysis – an ultrasound

 

Problem of Points – when made too often you are left without a pencil or friends

 

Problem of the Nile – you’re only fooling yourself

 

Products – University of Oregon fans

 

Proof

 

Bullet Proof – a proof that cannot be easily shot down

 

Burden of Proof – dementia

 

Sound Proof – a proof that holds up against even the loudest critic

 

Reproof – when your professor scoffs at your proof and tells you to redo it

 

Proofreader – a math professor

 

Goof Proof – when you make a wrong turn in your proof

 

Proof of Purchase – L'Hôpital’s Rule

 

Overproof – Q.E.D.

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Proper Fraction – fair division

 

Prophecy – what students are not likely to be able to do in a large lecture section

 

Proposition – one side of a debate

 

Prosecutor's Fallacy – going up against Perry Mason

 

Prosthaphaeresisante –logarithms

 

Protractor – a staller

 

Public-Key CryptologyTukey Model

 

Publish or PerishThe Paper Chase

 

Punnett Square – someone who spends their day thinking up puns

 

Pure MathematicsMath You Can't Use

 

PythagorasThe Wizard of ‘Om

 

Pythagorean – vegetarian

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Q                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Quadrant – diatribe in the atrium

 

Quadrature – test driving an Audi with full-time all-wheel drive

 

Quincunx – a pair of skunks

 

Quine – phoenix

 

R                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Raabe’s Criterion – foaming at the mouth

 

Radical Center – faculty lounge

 

Radon Measure – picocuries per liter

 

Ramsey Theory – he is atoning for indicting Dr. Spock

 

Randomized Block Design – your typical Lego creation

 

Randomized Responses fibs

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Rational Root – a sound foundation

 

RattlebackSpinal Tap

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Raw Score – a method of tenderizing meat

 

Reciprocity Law – the Golden Rule

 

Recursive Relation – Aunt Marge casting invectives again

 

Reduced Echelon – demoted

 

Reduction Formula – a diet plan

 

Relative Error – when your in-laws stay too long

 

Relaxation Method – yoga

 

Renewal Process – renaissance

 

Renorming Test Scores – ‘retrograde analysis’

 

Repeated MeasuresDa Capo

 

Repeated Sumdoubleplus

 

Repetend – when another goldfish jumps out of the tank

 

Repunit – a recycled pun

 

Restricted Compositions – canons

 

Retrograde Analysis – ‘renorming test scores’

 

Retrograde Motion – student’s request to have their exam rescored

 

Reverse Hex – exorcise

 

Reverse Mathematicsopsimath

 

Reversion to the Mean – getting angry again

 

Rhumb Line – what sailors form while awaiting their tot

 

Right Annihilator – Al Franken

 

Right Censoringapocope

 

Ring TheoryTom Bombadil is a Maia

 

River Crossing Problem – seasickness

 

Robbins Equation – a worm in the beak is worth two in the ground

 

Roman NumeralsSumma Theologiae

 

Roman Numerals – restoration of the Sistine Chapel

 

Roots of Unity – foundation for peace

 

RSA Numbers – tally marks on the Ochre Stone

 

Rule of Three – “Then, shalt thou count to three.  No more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.”

 

Runs Test – 100-meter dash

 

S                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Saltus – what French fries scream

 

Scalar – disarray

 

Schubert CycleDie schöne Müllerin

 

Scottish Bookbistromathics

 

Seasonal Time Seriesostinato

 

Secants – what a ship does to get turned around

 

Secants – what Ann Coulter does

 

Secretary’s Problem – carpal tunnel syndrome

 

Self Complementary – tooting your own horn

 

Self Dual – beating yourself up

 

Self Similarity – synecdoche

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Semigroup – convoy

 

Semiprime – the Prime Mover

 

Series Expansion – when the LCS went to 7 games

 

Set – awkward moment after being put down but before you take a hike

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Shadow Reckoning – ‘umbral calculus’

 

Shift Operator – plant supervisor working graveyard

 

Signum – what you do with checks

 

Simple Graph – petty bribery

 

Simple HypothesisA Modest Proposal

 

Simplex – an oxymoron describing anything which is at once simple and complex.  For example, love, truth and carbohydrates.

 

Simpson’s Paradox – Maggie shot Mr. Burns

 

Singularity – 2045 A.D.

 

Singular Value – Sudoku

 

Sinh – easily done

 

Sinical – believing the worst

 

Slide Rule – no budging

 

Slope Field – hillside farm

 

Soma Cube – felicific calculus

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Space Filling Curvehorror vacui

 

Spira MirabilisAnnu’s sister

 

Square the Lune – a Debussy favorite

 

Squaring the Circle – truing the wheel

 

Squeeze Rule – from the bottom up

 

Standard Deviant – your typical reprobate

 

Standard Error – common mistake

 

Standard Position – the party line

 

Static Equilibrium – peacetime

 

Stepwise Analysis – podiatric research

 

Strange AttractorCall of the Wild

 

Strange AttractorWhere the Wild Things Are

 

String Theory Cordon rule

 

Subbasiskatabasis

 

Subcover – lettuce and tomatoes

 

Subset – a pair of Seawolfs

 

Subtracted – nonplussed

 

Subtracting – dropping sonobouys

 

Sumset – gloaming

 

Superposition – “in the catbird seat”

 

Superposition – building manager

 

Supremum Limit – omnipotence paradox

 

Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total HappinessDonald in Mathmagic Land

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Symmetry – to climb a tree without branches

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Syntheme – story line of the Old Testament

 

Synthetic Division – an invented issue

 

T                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Tac Tix – a tractrix to the complete non-rhotic

 

Tail Event – wagging

 

Tautochrone – what Hansel and Gretel did with a good lesson

 

Taylor’s Seriesseamster’s line

 

Teacher’s Pets – students with Beatitudes (be-prepared,          be-attentitive, and be-curious)

 

Teaching Rules!

 

1.  Do no harm.  (Children are born with sympathy for learning – apathy and antipathy take training.)

 

2.  Leave the world a better place.  (Teach the students you have to become the ones you were hoping for.)

 

3.  Inspire courage.  (Teach students to be as confident in their abilities and convictions as you are in yours.)

 

4.  Be patient and reward endurance.  (Education is a race where the winners are those who never finish.)

 

5.  Make connections.  (No student ever went blind by staring at the bigger picture for too long.)

 

6.  Draw distinctions.  (An appreciation for differences never started a war.)

 

7.  Nurture criticism.  (Good vision involves seeing what isn’t as well as what is.)

 

8.  Aim high.  (The goal is to build extraordinary people, not just extraordinary students.)

 

9.  Work yourself out of job.  (Teach students how to teach themselves.)

 

10.  Leave them smiling.  (The student who has found the way to enjoy learning will never be lost.)

 

 

Tensor – more nervous

 

Terminating Renewal Process – doublespeak for getting canned

 

The French MathematicianA Series of Unfortunate Events

 

The Analyst : A Discourse Addressed to an Infidel MathematicianThe Calculus Affair (Adventures of Tintin)

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Theorema Egregium – rank theorem

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Theory of PollsThe Parrot’s Theorem

 

Thou shall have but three regular tilings of the plane Torah

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Three – Lawrence Welk count-off

 

Three Body Problem diagramming all forces acting on a given rigid object

 

Topologically Distinct – holier than thou

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Total Positivity – Pollyanna

 

Totative – not too heavy to carry

 

Transcendental Number – 10

 

Transfinite Numbers“to infinity and beyond”

 

Transitive Group – nomads

 

Translation OperatorOulipo +N algorithm

 

Translation Operator – Babel fish

 

Traveling Salesman Problem – Willy Loman complex

 

Triangle Inequality – when three’s a crowd

 

Truel – Lionel’s honest brother

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Truth Table – to put off honesty for a later date

 

Turing Machine – a bike with many gears

 

Twin Paradox – Sylvester and Cayley

 

Twin Primes Harman Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek

 

Two-Tailedbicaudal

 

U                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Umbral Calculus – ‘shadow reckoning’

 

Unary – stuffy

 

Unate – disgorge

 

UnboundedFrom Here to Eternity

 

Undecidableaporetic

 

Unitary FractionA Separate Peace

 

Universal Mathematician – Thoth

 

Urn Problem – The Leaky Cauldron

 

V                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Versed CosineDudley to Harry Potter

 

Versed Sine – initial indicator

 

Vicenary – Utopian

 

Vulgar Fraction – a nasty break-up

 

W                                                                                                 Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Waring’s Problem – when your pants quit fitting

 

Wavelet – a little vague

 

Well Ordered – not “putting Descartes before the horse”

 

Wetware – raincoat

 

WFF ‘N PROOF – A fantastic method of proof combining ‘scratch and sniff’ with ‘proof without words’ patented by the research team of Arlo Lipof, a mathematician at the Univ. of Western Ontario, George P. Burdell, an expert in bioinformatics at Georgia Tech, and Dr. Larry Kyle, founder of Genway, ‘the supermarket for genetically engineered foods’.  Together they formed the company Maieutica.

 

The strong connection between smells and memory is at the heart of the company’s approach.  Their breakthrough was in mapping specific smells to specific memory triggers.  Lipof, who is of Greek heritage, believes like Socrates that the human brain innately possesses the building blocks of all mathematical knowledge and that these blocks lie in wait for the right trigger to be expressed.  This idea is called maieutics, which roughly translates from the Greek as ‘intellectual midwifery’ and is one of four parts of the socratic method.  For Socrates the memory trigger was a series of guided questions.  At Maieutica, the memory trigger is a series of carefully sequenced smells determined by their newly discovered mapping.

 

Lipof contacted Burdell with some of his ideas in 2002.  At that time Burdell was wrapping up his part in the 13-year Human Genome Project (HGP) and was shopping for his next big project.  Burdell was initially skeptically, but he knew of Lipof’s reputation for doing what others thought impossible.  (In the late 1980’s Lipof led a South American team, where many fortunes were secured, in what is thought to be the first and only practical application of the Banach-Tarski paradox.  A brief sketch about this highly successful business venture appeared in the April 1989 issue of Scientific American.)

 

Lipof then brought Kyle onto the team.  Kyle, who is a regular guest on MPR (Minn. Public Radio), is regarded by his peers as a creative genius with a flair for the unusual.  Kyle was able to genetically engineer smells based on recent advances in olfaction that have occurred as a direct result of the Human Genome Project. Dilution to threshold ratios (parts of clean air to scented air) as sensitive as 70,000 to 1 were considered.

 

Finally Lipof had a group of graduate students translate Euclid’s Elements into formal proofs, a low level mathematical language that can be likened to machine code in computer science.

 

It was a four year process to map each step of each formal proof to a specific smell at a precise dilution to threshold ratio.  But with this olfactory mapping Maieutica has the code for unlocking geometry for the next generation of students who would rather smell than study.

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Whetstone of Witte – where to sharpen your humor

 

XYZ                                                                                Click on the ? marks

                                                                                                                                        for more details.

Yule Process – shop till you drop

 

ZFC AxiomsFoundation Series

 

 

 

 

 

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