Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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lemniscate

lemniscate (lem-NIS-kit or LEM-nis-kayt) - n., a closed plane curve consisting of two symmetrical loops meeting at a node.


Such as ∞, the symbol for infinity. The class of such curves (as opposed to all the other figure-eight curves) is described by the equation r2 = 2a2cos(2θ) or, for those who don't think in polar coordinates, (x2 + y2)2 = a2(x2 - y2), where a is a parameter giving the distance of the curve's furthest point from the origin. First described by Jakob Bernoulli, one of the older generation of Bernoulli mathematicians. Named around 1780 -- apparently by Euler?, can't confirm this though -- from Latin lēmniscātus, adorned with ribbons, from lēmniscus, a pendent ribbon, from Greek lēmnískos, ribbon.

The skater traced a perfect lemniscate in the ice.

---L.
Tags: l, latin, noun
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