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Browse High School Definitions

Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or good places to begin browsing.



Meaning of R++ [9/12/1996]
What do the symbols R_{+} and R_{++} mean?

The Meaning of Space [07/23/1997]
Is the term 'Space' a mathematical object? I have seen it in "Vector Space," "Banach Space," and "Hilbert Space," but are they the same thing?

Meanings of Math Symbols [06/19/1997]
In math notation, what do the vertical bar, the colon, and the solid black square (at the end of a proof) mean?

Mean, Median, and Mode [07/15/1998]
Can you explain the three ways to represent a group - mean, median, and mode? I am having trouble understanding the mode.

Metric System Prefixes [09/17/1997]
My algebra teacher wrote the word teraflops on the board and told us to find the meaning.

Moebius Strips: How Many Sides and Surfaces? [10/18/2001]
What is the difference between a side and a surface?

Name of Bar That Denotes a Repeating Decimal [08/30/2004]
What is the name of the bar that goes over a digit or group of digits that signifies that the digit or group repeats?

Names of Parts of a Cone [8/2/1996]
Are the components of a net of a cone called faces in all cases, or only for polyhedra?

Names of Polynomials [11/25/1997]
Are polynomials with higher degree than 5 named? What are they called?

Names of Polynomials with More Than Three Terms [03/25/2004]
What are the official, mathematical names for polynomials with more than three terms? For example, a polynomial with one term is a monomial, with two terms is a binomial, and with three terms is a trinomial. What is a polynomial with more than three terms called?

Naming Geometric and Arithmetic Progressions [04/04/2003]
Why is an exponential progression called 'geometric'? Why is a linear progression called 'arithmetic'?

Napoleon's Triangle [08/10/1999]
What is Napoleon's triangle?

Negating Statements [10/27/1998]
What is negation? What is a statement? How do you negate a statement?

Nets in a Geometrical Sense [03/07/1999]
What is the "net" of a shape?

Nonagon or Enneagon? [02/06/2003]
Is 'enneagon' really the correct name for a 9-sided polygon?

Non-Euclidean Geometry [10/22/2001]
What is non-Euclidean geometry? What two concepts are different from Euclidean geometry?

Non-Euclidean Geometry for 9th Graders [12/23/1994]
I would to know if there is non-euclidean geometry that would be appropriate in difficulty for ninth graders to study.

Normal Distribution Curve [11/13/2000]
What is the normal distribution curve?

No Slope: An Ambiguous Term [05/08/2003]
What is the distinction between a line with a slope of zero and a line with no slope?

Noting Nothing: Braces around Zero vs. Empty Braces [08/02/2010]
A student struggles to distinguish among the meanings of {0}, {}, and the symbol phi. Doctor Ian clears up the set theory notation, then emphasizes that the empty set can, itself, be an element.

Number of Cylinder Edges [04/01/2002]
My son was asked "how many edges are there on a solid cylinder?" on a recent math examination. His answer was "2" and it was marked incorrect.

Number Word Etymologies [05/03/2001]
Who made up the names for numbers?

Obtuse and Oblique [7/29/1996]
Are the terms "obtuse" and "oblique" interchangeable?

Odds Slang for Probability? [02/06/1997]
Is "odds" slang for probability?

One- and Two-sided Polygons [12/07/1999]
Can you explain what a monogon and a digon are?

One-to-One Correspondence and Transfinite Numbers [12/10/1999]
Can you explain what Cantor meant by one-to-one correspondence, and transfinite numbers?

Opposite of Percentage [07/31/2001]
I am trying to write a document explaining a common procedure: calculating a discounted price. What is the name given to the term (1- discount_rate)?

Ordered Pairs vs. Coordinates [9/9/1996]
What is the difference between an ordered pair and coordinates?

Order of Quadrant Numbers [10/21/2002]
Why are quadrants numbered that way?

Origin of the Null Symbol [03/05/2003]
Where did the null symbol come from?

Origin of the Term Logarithm [10/27/1999]
Where does the term logarithm come from?

Origin of the Terms Sine, Cosine, Tangent, etc. [10/27/1999]
Can you tell me the origin of the terms hypotenuse, sine, cosine, and tangent? Can you tell me how the trigonometric formulas for sine, cosine, and tangent came about?

Origin of the Term Vertical Angles [04/04/2005]
Why do we call them "vertical angles" when many of them are "horizontal" (extending left and right)? Where did that name come from?

Origin of the Word Root [02/18/2002]
If we set an expression equal to zero, we call the solution the "root" of the equation. Why?

Parabola [06/06/2001]
What is the meaning of the word parabola?

Parallel Lines, Concentric Circles [04/24/2003]
If parallel means that two lines never intersect, would the lines that form a circle drawn inside another circle be considered parallel?

Pareto and Bar Charts [3/12/1997]
What are three distinguishing differences between Pareto Charts and Bar Charts?

Parsec (pc) [10/26/2001]
One of the unit conversions my Casio fx-991MS calculator does is pc to km and km to pc. What does "pc" mean in this context?

Parts of a Cone [04/18/2001]
Does a solid cone have any edges?

Pattern or Sequence? [10/02/2003]
What is the difference between a pattern and a sequence?

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