Articles

Abscissa - Origin of the word


Comes from the adjective Latin abscissuswhich means "separated in two, interrupted, separated". In 1919, Swiss mathematician Florian Cajori stated that the words "abscissa" and "ordinate" were not used by Descartes. It is also known that although the word "abscissa" has been used at least since the work From Practice Geometrie, published in 1220 by Fibonacci (Leonardo de Pisa), its use in the most modern sense is due to other mathematicians several centuries later.

The technical use of "abscissa" is observed in the eighteenth century by C. Wolf and others. Prior to this, in the most general sense of distance, the word abscissa was used by Bonaventura Cavalieri in his work on the "indivisible," by Stefano degli Angeli (1623-1697), among others.

The mathematician Cajori stated in 1906 that the term abscissa first occurred in a 1659 paper written by Stefano degli Angeli, a mathematics teacher in Rome.