Subject: slope Susan algebra I (6-9) I am a secondary school teacher. My students and I would like to know why the letters m and b are traditionally used to stand for slope and Y-intercept in the standard form of an equation. Was this an arbitrary choice? Who made it? Are the letters from Greek ot Latin words? Thanks Hi SusanWe received the same question from Julie a while ago and I had to reply that I didn't know. That is still my answer but now at least I can give a reference to the fact that some other people who have wondered about this question don't know the answer either. There is a list compiled by Jeff Miller called the "Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols". The URL is http://members.aol.com/jeff570/mathsym.html In this list under "m" is the entry:
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