Quandaries and Queries


From: Dan
Subject: Quadratic Equation

Why are equations of the form aX2 + bX + c =0 call quadratic? The quad indicates 4 but the power is 2.



Hi Dan,

The root of the word is Latin.

quadratus - square, or
quadratura - the act of making square
There is more detail in a response to an earlier question. Another place to look for answers to such questions is Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics.

The use of the word quad to mean square appears in other places in our everyday language. Here is a live view of the Quad at Syracuse University.


Go to Math Central