Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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Grand Panjandrum
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Postby Slava » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:40 pm

I won't bore you with the definition, as I expect most of you already know it. At least I hope so.

What's interesting about this one is its roots. It's not originally closely connected with math. It actually comes from the shipping world and first meant the losses incurred due to damage in transit.

I haven't looked it up, but I suspect that it is also related to the Russian word for accident, avariya.
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Philip Hudson
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:29 am

A very interesting comment, Slava. Between losses incurred due to damage in transit (of which I was unaware), and mathematical average, the word meant a statement of medical estimate. I suspect the present common use of average does not take the precision required of a mathematical definition. "The average person" is not an easily quantifiable concept, whereas "the average height of men" is at least theoretically quantifiable.
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