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Aunt Sally

Please Ask My Dear Aunt Sally

Dear Aunt Sally,

Why is a second degree equation called a “Quadratic Equation” and a fourth degree equation is called a “Quartic Equation”? Doesn’t “Quad” generally mean four?

Signed,
Poly Nomial


Dear Poly,

“Quadratus” is Latin for "square" and the highest degree term in a second degree equation (in one variable) is to the second power (or squared).

Signed,
Your Dear Aunt Sally


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