Why is m slope?

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Why is m slope?

The straight line in mathematics is represented by an equation, ‘Y = m X + c,. Ã’šÃ‚ Here ‘Y’ stands for Y-axis variable, ‘X’ stands for X-axis variable, ‘c’ stands for a constant which will not change and ‘m’ stands for slope of the straight line. Slope can be written as ‘Y-axis on X-axis’ at a particular point on the line. The above given equation is a popular format of representing a straight line which is used by all the students in various fields. The letter ‘m’ is commonly used for representing the slope of a straight line.

It is general to represent a variable in mathematics by using the letters x, y, z and so on. Similarly, when any constants are represented, it is common that people choose a, b, c and so on. When any parameters have to be represented, middle letters of the alphabet were chosen till now like m, n, o and so on. People have been using the letters in mathematics in this format just like that without any reason. But, this procedure was commonly followed by everyone till now. As slope is a parameter, probably ‘m’ was utilized for its representation.

Some people have a doubt whether ‘m’ stands for modulus of slope. The term modulus is also used for finding out the required parameters. Here, slope is also a parameter and probably ‘m’ was used as abbreviation for ‘moduli. A detailed study on the origin of ‘m’ usage for slope was made by J. Miller. But, he could not succeed in the study. Ã’šÃ‚ It is said in some of the high school algebra textbooks that ‘m’ might have been taken from French word. It is found that ‘monter’ is the French word used for ‘to climb’. Probably, slope is taken for a line that is increasing its value of slope from bottom to top, the word ‘monter’ might be the source of the letter ‘m’. There is no evidence for this particular theory. The letter ‘m’ for slope was not used by Descartes who invented Cartesian coordinate system. Famous Professors in mathematics still say that they do not know exactly the reason for the usage of ‘m’ for slope.

Author: Hari M

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