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Quadratic Equation

  1. Mar 6, 2008 #1
    Hi All,

    I have a semantics question.

    Why is the quadratic equation called what it is?

    A polynomial of degree two is called a quadratic polymonial but I've always associated the root quad to mean four!!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2008 #2
    From wikipedia, "Quadratic equations are called quadratic because quadratus is Latin for "square"; in the leading term the variable is squared."

    I always wondered that as well to be honest.
  4. Mar 6, 2008 #3


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    Well, what do you call a rectangle whose length is x and breadth is x, and whose area is x^2?

    Not a..square?
  5. Mar 7, 2008 #4


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    If you get exercised over this sort of thing (I know I do!), you might find this website to be of interest:

    It notes that "quadratic" is from the Latin for "to make square" or, as Lamoid said, simple "square". Of course, a square has four sides which is where your use of the word is from.
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