Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, October 3, 2011

Math Words Gone Bad

I read today in my favorite newspaper column about the blatant misuse of math terms in big business. This seemed an interesting theme, especially since we are concerned in this blog about using math properly in "the real world".

All Excel Math Teacher Editions contain a full glossary of terms, so teachers can help students know the precise definition of the words used in their lessons. You can download a free glossary from our website, in English or Spanish.

Let's take a look at math terms commonly used in ways that distort their "mathematical" meaning.

 TERM Common Usage Original or Math Meaning
Angleto maneuver or schemetwo intersecting rays or line segments
Averageeveryone below mesingle number that represents a set of values
Basedestination for battersthe bottom face or side of a polygon
Checkinspecting or grading ones workv-shaped mark on a tally sheet
Conebaked shell holding ice cream3D figure with 1 circular base and 1 curved surface
Cylinderpart of revolver that holds bullets3D figure with 2 curved edges, 2 circular bases and 1 curved surface
Decimateto destroy utterlytake away one-tenth of the whole
Deductivesubtracting amount of a donation from your taxeslogical reasoning
Deltachangerate of change in an option's value with respect to changes in underlying asset price
Densenot very smartvery high ratio of mass to volume
Dividendmoney paid me quarterlya quantity to be split (or divided) by a divisor
Even we both get the same amountan integer evenly divisible by 2
Fact Familyrelatives speaking truthfully without emotionrelated facts involving the same set of numbers
Flippolitician changing his position on an issuechange in location resulting in a mirror image
Exponentlittle number indicating "squared" or "cubed"person or a statement that sets something forth
Infinitelots of somethingan uncountable quantity
Interestwhat banks used to pay on your savings balancefee charged for use of money
Intersectionplace where many cars stopa subset of values that are common to all sets being evaluated
Metricsunits used by other countries to measure thingsthe distance between members in a set
Modefashionvalue in a set that occurs most frequently
Obtusedense, dumbangle more than 90∘but less than 180∘
Oddstrange, weirdnumber that cannot be divided into two equal groups
Pentagoncenter of the US military industrial complexfive-sided polygon
Perimeterline surrounding a military positiondistance around a closed figure
Primeinterest rate banks use to calculate changes to adjustable mortgages number that has itself and 1 as its only factors
Quantuminstant jump through space or timeminimum amount of a physical entity involved in an interaction
Reciprocalan eye for an eyetwo numbers whose product is 1
Reflectionface in a mirrormovement of an object across a straight line
Similar figuresyour numbers resemble those of the IRS auditor2 figures with the same proportions but not the same size
Standing orderbank instruction to pay on one's behalfposition of people in line waiting
Unlikelyhell freezing overan event with probability less than .5
Volumewhen you get it you'll be profitablethe cubic units required to fill a 3D figure
Whole numberprice never truthfully disclosed by the purchaser of a carpositive integers; without fractions
110%a good effortimpossible