Date: Apr 9, 1996 5:40 PM
Author: Jeffrey Darrow
Subject: Quadratic Equations

        Today I had a student in my college algebra class ask me why  
"Quadratic Equations" are so named. If we have a polynomial of
degree 3 set equal to zero, we call it a cubic equation and that
makes sense to these students. However, this particular student is
curious because she sees "Q-U-A-D" in quadratic and thinks of four,
yet the polynomial in such an equation is only of degree 2. I've
never encountered this question before and I was at a loss for an
explanation. Does anyone know the origin of the term "quadratic
equation"? I would be very grateful to receive an answer.

Thank you in advance.

Jeff Darrow
Idaho State University