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I know that cotangent is thus named because its the compliment of tangent, but where did Secant get its name?
The word "secant" comes from the Latin word "secare" meaning "to cut." It was originally used in mathematics to describe a line that cuts through a curve or circle.
The term "secant" was first used in the 16th century by the Italian mathematician, Pietro Cataldi, to describe a trigonometric function. It was later popularized by the French mathematician, François Viète, in the 17th century.
In mathematics, the term "secant" is used to describe a line that intersects a curve or circle at two points. It is an important concept in geometry and trigonometry, as it allows for the calculation of various angles and distances.
Aside from its use in mathematics, "secant" can also refer to a line or plane that intersects a curve or surface at two or more points, or to a type of cutting tool used in metalworking. It can also be used as an adjective to describe something that is cutting or intersecting.
Although they are spelled and pronounced the same way, the word "secant" in mathematics is not related to the word "secant" in medical terminology. In medicine, "secant" refers to a type of surgical incision, and comes from the Latin word "secare" meaning "to cut."