I was reading my latest issue of MacAddict, and they made a reference to the forward-slash (/), calling it a “solidus”. I immediately had to look the etymology of the word up in the OED.
So apparently, a solidus was a Roman coin worth 25 denarii. It later referred to a shilling, and then referred to the shilling-mark, the slash used to separate the shillings from pence when writing down a value. The term then came to apply in general to all forward slashes. I guess it’s right up there with “ampersand” and “parenthesis”, in terms of weird-sounding symbol terms.
This reminded Emery of a weird word we had seen in an engineering textbook: the “subtrahend”, which like the dividend, is the thing that is being subtracted (or in the dividend’s case, divided).
Wow. I’m just overflowing with geeky trivia tonight.