Etymology of the Word RhombusDate: 01/30/2003 at 09:07:39 From: Ms. Judy Subject: 2D shape My first grade class would like to know where the word rhombus comes from as they find it an unusual word and why the shape is called this. Date: 01/30/2003 at 09:11:37 From: Doctor Sarah Subject: Re: 2D shape Hi Ms. Judy - thanks for writing to Dr. Math. From Steven Schwartzman's _The Words of Mathematics - An Etymological Dictionary of Mathematical Terms Used in English_ (Mathematical Association of America): rhombus (noun), rhombic (adjective): rhombus is a Latin word borrowed from Greek rhombos. The Indo-European root is wer- "to turn, to bend." A native English cognate is wrap. A rhombos in Greek was what is known among anthropologists as a bull- roarer, a small object rapidly swung about on a cord in order to make a noise. Such objects were used in religious ceremonies by many cultures, not just the ancient Greeks. Apparently the shape of the Greek rhombos was akin to what we now call a rhombus: a parallelogram with all sides equal. - Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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