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The Origin Of The Word Quadratic

Asked by Gab Fredman, student, Columbia High School on September 5, 1997:
I have a pretty random question about the derivation of the word "quadratic. I naturally think of four when I hear the word, but in actuality, it does not mean that at all. Do you have any clue as to how the word "quadratic" got its name?
To the best of our knowledge the origin of the term "quadratic" is Latin. It is derived from quadratus which is the past participle of quadrare which means "to make square." From this it is clear that part of the word is connected to the Latin word for "four," though not a way which one might expect: it refers to squaring, and a square is a regular four-sided figure.

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