Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!


  1. Apr 6, 2005 #1
    The dictionary definition of minuend,

    includes the equation [tex] 50 - 34 = 16 [/tex]

    :bugeye: How do they decide which equation to put in there? I mean, the values of 50 and 34, did someone just randomly think of two numbers ?
    Did they use a statistical process, (for example, looking at the list of random numbers) to determine which values to place in as an example?

    For something as important as a formal dictionary definition, how do they choose which values to use as an example? I mean, numerous English dictionaries display this EXACT equation! How, for something as significant and encompassing as a formal definition, did they come up with these values? A guy's random guess, an intensive statistical process, or...etc...
    How did they decide on exactly these values?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Note that 16 is both a square and a fourth power, whereas 50 is EXACTLY one half of an extremely important square number!
    But 34 is nothing of the kind!!
    Hence, vast philosophical panoramas open up by this exact equation, which no other equation could do equally well.
    Thus, the definition of the minuend might be expected to lodge itself deeper in the subconscious of the reader.
  4. Apr 6, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    'numerous' is such a vague term. Do you mean many dictionaries use this example or do you mean that two is a great number? (personally, I think 42 is a great number). Or were you just confused by the latin translation of minuend, "numerus minuendus" (number to be diminished)?

    Admittedly, I only did a quick sample of about 25 on-line dictionaries, but only 4 had examples at all and only two used the example you noted.

    I felt the "Math is Spoken Here" dictionary picked a particularly creative example: (4x - 3) - (-2x +1) = 6x - 4.

    Dang, not only can you find a "Math is Spoken Here" dictionary, but you can also find a "Math is Hard" webpage (but isn't that recon's avatar?).

    Edit: My fingers were inserting random 'e's - must be a subconcious fascination.
  5. Apr 6, 2005 #4

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Heh! Cute web page! :smile:
  6. Apr 6, 2005 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    And one more thing

    [tex] 50-16=34 [/tex] is not an equation.It's an equality.It's not an identity,since it's valid only in the base 10...

  7. Apr 6, 2005 #6
    Hey, dexter, how did you change your signature? I thought altering your signature destroys it.
  8. Apr 6, 2005 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Altering your avatar if you have one from before the last upgrade removes it. I think the signature is manual?
  9. Apr 6, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hehe,i wouldn't call that altering,but improving.Seneca quoted in original sounds a zillion times better than Heisenberg translated... :approve:

    Yes,manually... :tongue2:

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Definitions
  1. Definitive or not? (Replies: 11)

  2. What is a definition? (Replies: 27)

  3. Definition of God (Replies: 3)

  4. Definition for propsman (Replies: 10)