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Etymology of the Word Asymptote

Date: 01/26/2001 at 16:24:56
From: Jeff
Subject: Asymptote

My math class is currently studying asymptotes. As a bonus question 
the instructor has asked for the origin of the word asymptote. If 
you could provide some insight as to the origin, I would be very 


Date: 01/26/2001 at 16:55:41
From: Doctor Rob
Subject: Re: Asymptote

Thanks for writing to Ask Dr. Math, Jeff.

My big dictionary says it is derived from the Greek work "asymptotos"
meaning "not falling together."  It, in turn, is derived from the
parts "a-" (not), "syn-" (with), and "piptein" (to fall).

- Doctor Rob, The Math Forum   
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