Definition:Abscissa/Linguistic Note

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Linguistic Note on Abscissa

The term abscissa comes from the Latin term linea abscissa, which means a line cut off.

The same source gives the word scissors.

Some sources suggest that the word descends from translations of Conics by Apollonius, where the Greek word ἀποτεμνομέναις (apotemnomenais) appears.

The word is rarely used nowadays except in the context of the history of mathematics.


Its plural is correctly abscissae or (to be even more strictly classically correct) abscissæ.

However, the plural form of the term (when it is used at all) is commonly abscissas.

$\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ has no strong opinion on what plural form is used, as it is considered obsolete and is not expected to appear often.


Also see