Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from virginia, a student:

why do they use the letter b in y=mx+b?
im asking this because my math teacher said he will give extra points to anyone who finds this out first
and i was hoping you guys would be the ones who could help.

Hi Virginia,

We have been asked that question and the associated question why m a number of times. The answer is that we don't know. We are not alone. Go to Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols, follow the link called Symbols used in geometry and scroll down to slope.


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