Etymology of the Word Mathematics
Date: 12/10/2001 at 05:10:01 From: Mica Subject: Maths Why do you call maths maths?
Date: 12/10/2001 at 10:10:31 From: Doctor Sarah Subject: Re: Maths Hi Mica - thanks for writing to Dr. Math. Good question! Maths is short for mathematics. Here's what Steven Schwartzman has to say in his book, _The Words of Mathematics_ (Mathematical Association of America): mathematics: Latin mathematica was a plural noun, which is why mathematics has an -s at the end even though we use it as a singular noun. Latin had taken the word from Greek mathematikos, which in turn was based on mathesis. That word, which was also borrowed into English but is now archaic, meant "mental discipline" or "learning," especially mathematical learning. The Indo-European root is mendh- "to learn." Plato believed no one could be considered educated without learning mathematics. A polymath is a person who has learned many things, not just mathematics. - Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.