# Definition:Algorism

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## Definition

**Algorism** is an archaic term which means **the process of doing arithmetic using Arabic numerals**.

### Algorist

During the middle ages, an **algorist** was an arithmetician who used algorism, as opposed to an abacist who calculated using an abacus.

By the time of Leonhard Paul Euler, the term had evolved to mean a mathematician who devised algorithms for more complicated operations than those of the classical algorithms.

## Also see

- Definition:Algorithm, not to be confused with this, which has the same linguistic root.

## Linguistic Note

During the Renaissance, the origin of the word **algorism** was uncertain.

According to 1997: Donald E. Knuth: *The Art of Computer Programming: Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms*, various suggestions were made by linguists, for example:

- from the Greek
**algiros**(meaning**painful**) and**arithmos**(meaning**number**) - deriving from
**King Algor of Castile**(whose actual identity $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ has not been able to establish)

but that eventually it was determined to have derived from the name Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.

## Sources

- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text{IX}$: Analysis Incarnate - 1997: Donald E. Knuth:
*The Art of Computer Programming: Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms*(3rd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $\S 1.1$: Algorithms - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**al-Khwarizmi, Muhammad ibn Musa**(c.780-c.850) - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**al-Khwarizmi, Muhammad ibn Musa**(c.780-c.850)