Today it is considered an egregious faux pas to speak or write in the crude antedated terms of our grandfathers. To assist the isolated student and the less sophisticated teacher, I have prepared the following list of currently fashionable mathematical terms in academia. I pass this list on to the general public as a matter of charity and in the hope that it will lead to more refined elucidation from young scholars.

OUT IN

thinking: hypothesizing.

proof by contradiction or indirect proof: reductio ad absurdum.

mistake: non sequitur.

starting place: handle.

with corresponding changes: mutatis mutandis.

counterexample: pathological exception.

consequently: ipso facto.

swallowing results: digesting proofs.

therefore: ergo.

has an easy-to-understand, but hard-to-find solution: obvious.

has two easy-to-understand, but hard-to-find solutions: trivial.

truth: tautology.

empty: vacuous.

drill problems: plug-and-chug work.

criteria: rubric.

example: substantive instantiation.

similar structure: homomorphic.

very similar structure: isomorphic.

same area: isometric.

arithmetic: number theory.

count: enumerate.

one: unity.

generally/specifically: globally/locally.

constant: invariant.

bonus result: corollary.

distance: metric measure.

several: a plurality.

function/argument: operator/operand.

separation/joining: bifurcation/confluence.

fourth power or quartic: biquadratic.

random: stochastic.

unique condition: a singularity.

uniqueness: unicity.

tends to zero: vanishes.

tip-top point: apex.

half-closed: half-open.

concave: non-convex.

rectangular prisms: parallelepipeds.

perpendicular (adj.): orthogonal.

perpendicular (n.): normal.

Euclid: Descartes.

Fermat: Wiles.

path: trajectory.

shift: rectilinear translation.

similar: homologous.

very similar: congruent.

whopper-jawed: skew or oblique.

change direction: perturb.

join: concatenate.

approximate to two or more places: accurate.

high school geometry or plane geometry: geometry of the Euclidean plane

under the Pythagorean metric.

clever scheme: algorithm.

initialize to zero: zeroize.

* : splat.

{ : squiggle.

decimal: denary.

alphabetical order: lexical order.

a divide-and-conquer method: an algorithm of logarithmic

order.

student ID numbers: witty passwords.

that bitch secretary in the math dept: the witch of Agnesi

numerology and number sophistry: descriptive statistics

Special thanks to Peter Braxton who got me started writing this stuff and who contributed five of the items above.

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mathematics

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In class I was asked to give the definition of these words. Here are the

words and my answer.

Polyhedron: She is the mother of all geometry.

Polyhedron Properties: I put Land she bought with the mother and fame she

achieved from becoming the mother of all geometry.

Polyhedron Compounds: The structures she built on her properties.

Polyhedron Operations: The Name of the business she opened in her compounds

on her properties.

Uniform Polyhedron: She manufactured her own clothing line from her

businesses in her compounds on her properties.

Miscellaneous Polyhedron: She diversified

Dual Polyhedron: She later married and had twins.

Tetrahedron: A life threatening sickness you will catch if you don't get a

tetanus shot.

Releaux Tetrahedron: The first person diagnosed with this sickness around

1610 in Scandinavia.

Tetrahedron Compound 2: coughing

Tetrahedron Compound 3: scratching

Tetrahedron Compound 4: physiologic calcium imbalance

Tetrahedron Compound 5: tonic spasm of muscles

Tetrahedron Compound 6: deficient parathyroid secretion

Tetrahedron Compound 10: loss of hearing, sight, hair and income followed by death all within a 15 second period.

Comedy material written by Edmund Johnson Feb. 23rd 2003