If you have any questions about this list of mathematical words from Latin, please contact Tom Sienkewicz at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois at toms@monm.edu.


ACCURATE: L. accuratus, p.p. of accurara; ad (to) + curare (to apply care).

ACCURACY: L. cf. accurate and see note 1.

ADD: L. addere; ad (to) + -dere (to put); not from dare, to give.

ADDITION: L. additio, -onis, n. ( the act of adding to); see add.

ALTITUDE: L. altitudo, n. (height).

ANGLE: L. angulus, n. (corner), through Fr. angle.

ANTECEDENT: L. antecedens, -ntis pr.p of ante cedere; ante (before) + cedere (to move).

APPROXIMATE: L. approximatus, p.p. of approximare; ad (to) + proximare (to draw near).

AREA: L. area, n. (an open space).

AXES: L. pl. of axis.

AXIS: L. axis, n. (axle-tree, pivot); from agere ( to move).

BALANCE: Late L. bilanx, bis (twice) + lanx (platter); through Fr. balance.

CANCEL: L. cancellare (to make lattice-wise, to cross out).

CIRCUMFERENCE: Late L. circumferentia, from circumferens, -ntis, pr. p. of circumferre (to bear around).

COLLECT: L. collectus p.p. of con (together) + legere (to gather); see note 3.

COMBINATIONS: Late L. com (together) + bini (two by two) + atio, -onis (act of): see note 3.

COMBINE: see combination.

COMMON: L. adj. communis (common).

COMPUTE: L. com (together) + putare (to reckon); see note 3.

CONSEQUENT: L. consequens, -ntis, pr. p. of con (tegether) + sequi (to follow); see note 3.

CORRESPONDING: Late L. correspondere, com ( together) = respondere (to answer); see note 3.

DECIMAL: Late L. decimalis, from decem (ten); see note 4.

DECREASE: L. de (down) + crescere ( to grow).

DEGREE: L. de (down) + gradus (a step). through Fr. degre.

DENOMINATOR: L. denominare (to give a name to) + -tor (one who, that which).

DIMENSION: L. dimensio, -onis, n., from di for dis (apart) + metiri (to measure).

DIRECTION: L. directio, -onis, n., from di for dis (apart) + regere (to keep straight).

DISTANCE: L. distantia, n., from distans, -ntis, pr. p. of dis (apart) + stare (to stand).

DIVIDE: L. dividere (to force apart).

DIVISION: L. divisio, -onis, n., from divisus, p.p. of dividere: see divide.

EQUAL: L. aequalis, from aequus (level, even); see note 4.

EQUALITY: L. aequalitas, -atis, n.; see equal.

EQUATION: L. aequatio, -onis, n. (a making equal).

EQUILATERAL: Late L. aequilateralis, aequus (equal) + lacus, -eris (side).

EQUIVALENT: Late L. aequivalens, -ntis, pr.p. of aequivalere (to have equal power).

EXAMPLE: L. exemplum, n. from eximere (to make out as a sample).

EXPRESS: L. expressus, p.p. of exprimere, ex (out) + premere (to press).

EXTRACT: L. extractus, p.p. of ex (out) + trahere (to draw).

EXTREMES: L. extremus, adj. (outermost, most remote).

FACTORING: L. factor, n. (doer or maker).

FIGURE: L. figura, n. (shape or form).

FORMULA: L. formula, n. (small pattern)

FRACTION: L. fractio, -onis, n. (a breaking); from fractus, p.p. of frangere (to break).

INCREASE: L. in + crescere (to grow).

INTEGER: L. integer, adj. (untouched, whole), in (not) + teg- the root of tangere (to touch).

INTEGRAL: Late L. integralis, adj.; see integer and note 4.

INTERPRETATION: L. interpretatio, -onis, n. (explanation).

INTERSECT: L. intersectus, p.p. of inter (between) + secare (to cut).

INVERT: L. in (on) + vertere (to turn).

LINEAR: L. linearis (having to do with a line), from linea (line).

MEASURE: L. mensura, from mensus, p.p. of metiri (to measure).

MEASUREMENT: L. mensura + ment; see note 5.

MINUS: L. minus, adj. neut. of minor (less).

NEGATIVE: Late L. negativus, adj., from negatus, p.p. pf negare (to deny).

NOTATION: L. notatio, -onis, n., from notare (to note).

NUMBER: L. numerus (number), through O. Fr. nombre.

NUMERAL: Late L. numeralis, adj., from numerus (number); see note 4.

NUMERATOR: Late L. numerator, n., from numerare (to number) + -tor (one who, that which).

NUMERICAL: Mordern L. numericus + al. from L. numerus (number); see note 4.

OBLONG: L. ob + longus (long); see note 6.

OPERATION: L. operatio, -onis, n., from operari (to work), from n. opus, -eris (work).

ORDER: L. ordo, -inis, n. (a row, series), through Fr. ordre.

ORIGIN: L. origo, -inis, n., from oriri (to arise).

PARTIAL: L. pars, partis; see note 4.

PER CENT: Abbreviation of L. prep. per (through, by) + L. centum (hundred).

PERIMETER: L. perimetros borrowed from G. perimetros (circumference), from peri (around) + metron (measure).

PERPENDICULAR: L. perpendicularis, from perpendiculum (plummet, plumb line); from per(through) + pendere (to hang).

PLUS: L. plus, adj. (more).

POINT: L. punctum, n. from p.p. of pungere (to pierce) through Fr. point.

POSITIVE: L. positivus, adj. (settled by agreement), from positus, p.p. of ponere (place)

PRINCIPAL: L. principalis, adj. (first, original, important); from princeps (leader); see note 4.

PROPORTION: L. proportio, -onis, n. from pro (in front of, in comparison with) + portio, -onis(share).

PROPORTIONAL: L. see proportion and note 4.

QUADRILATERAL: Late L.quadri- (four) + latus, lateris (side); see note 4.

QUANTITY: L. quantitas, -atis, from quantus (how much?), through Fr. quantite.

QUOTIENT: L. quotiens, adv. (how often?) from quot (how many?).

RADIUS: L. radius, n. (ray, spoke of a wheel).

RATIO: L. ratio, -onis, n. (a reckoning); from ratus p.p. of reri (to reckon, to think).

RECTANGLE: L. rectus (straight, upright) + angulus (corner, angle).

REDUCE: L. re (back) + ducere (to lead).

REMAINDER: L. re (back) + manere (to stay), through O. Fr. remaindre.

REPRESENT: L. re (back) + praesentare (to bring before one).

REQUIRED: L. requirere, re (back) + quarere (to seek).

RESPECTIVELY: L. re (back) _ spicere (to look upon).

SIGN: L. signum, n. (mark or token).

SIMILAR: L. similis, adj. (like), through Fr. similaire.

SOLID: L. solidum, n. (a dense, compact substance).

SOLUTION: L. solutio, -onis, n. ( a loosing or release); see solve.

SOLVE: L. solvere (to loosen, to release).

SQUARE: Late L. exquadare (to make square), from quadrus (four-cornered), from root of quattuor (four), through O. Fr. esquerre.

SUBSTITUTE: L. substitutus, p.p. of substituere, sub (under) + statuere (to set up).

SUBTRACT: L. substractus, p.p. of subtrahere (to draw away from under), from sub (under) + trahere (to draw).

SUCCESSIVE: L. successivus, adv. formed participial stem of succedere (to come up under), from sub (under) + cedere (to move).

SUM: L. summa, n. (the complete amount).

SUPPLEMENT: L. supplementum, n. (a supply, reinforcement), from sub (under) + plere (to fill); see note 5.

TERMS: L. terminus, n. (limit, boundary mark).

TRANSPOSE: L. trans (across) + Late L. pausare, confused with ponere (to place); through Fr. poser and ultimately from G. pauein (to stop).

TRIANGLE: L. triangulum, n., tres (three) + angulus (corner).

UNIT: L. unitas, n. (oneness) from unus (one).

VALUE: L. valere, (to be strong, to be worth), through Fr. valu p.p. of valoir.

VERTEX: L. vertex, n. (top or summit); cf vertere (to turn).

VERTICAL: see vertex and note 4.

VOLUME: L. volumen, n. (a roll of writing); cf volvere (to roll).


1. The suffix-acy is from Latin -acia used to form an abstract noun.

2. The suffix-ic is from the Latin -icus, which is from G. -ikos (pertaining to).

3. The prefix com- (col-, con-, cor-, col-) is from the Latin cum- (with, together); the original spelling with o is preserved in compounds.

4. The suffix -al is from Latin -alis (related to, connected with).

5. The suffix -ment is from Latin -mentum (state of, act of).

6. The prefix ob- (oc-, of-, op-) is from the Latin preposition ob (against, in the direction of).

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