Infinitesimal

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Infinitesimal'

Infinitesimal Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    infinitesimal adj : infinitely or immeasurably small; "two minute whiplike threads of protoplasm"; "reduced to a microscopic scale" [syn: minute, microscopic]
Infinitesimal Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Infinitesimal \In`fin*i*tes"i*mal\, a. [Cf. F. infinit['e]simal, fr. infinit['e]sime infinitely small, fr. L. infinitus. See Infinite, a.] Infinitely or indefinitely small; less than any assignable quantity or value; very small. Infinitesimal calculus, the different and the integral calculus, when developed according to the method used by Leibnitz, who regarded the increments given to variables as infinitesimal.
Infinitesimal Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Infinitesimal \In`fin*i*tes"i*mal\, n. (Math.) An infinitely small quantity; that which is less than any assignable quantity.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Infinitesimal'


Infinitesimals have been used to express the idea of objects so small that there is no way to see them or to measure them. The word infinitesimal comes from a 17th century Modern Latin coinage infinitesimus, which originally referred to the "infinite-th" item in a series.

In common speech, an infinitesimal object is an object which is smaller than any feasible measurement, hence not zero size, but so small that it cannot be distinguished from zero by any available means. Hence, when used as an adjective, "infinitesimal" in the vernacular means "extremely small".

Before the nineteenth century none of the mathematical concepts relating to infinitesimals as we know them today were formally defined, but many of these concepts were already used. The founders of infinitesimal calculus — Euler, Leibniz, Newton, Cauchy, and many others — calculated with infinitesimals and achieved correct results even though the definitions available at the time came to be thought of as insufficiently precise by the followers of Weierstrass in the 1870s. For example, Cauchy defined infinitesimals in terms of variable quantities (such as sequences) tending to zero.

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Infinitesimal Sample Sentences in News


  • Has crude oil production already peaked?
    The notion that oil is becoming abundant all over again is contradicted by the levitating price, Cobb writes, and by the evidence that actual worldwide crude oil production is either flat or growing at an infinitesimal rate. Read more on this news related to 'Infinitesimal'
  • Everything You Need to Know About High-Frequency Trading
    The stock market isn't rigged, but it is taxed. These "high-frequency traders" (HFT) use computer algorithms—a.k.a., algobots—to arbitrage away the most infinitesimal price discrepancies that only exist over the most infinitesimal time horizons. You can see just how small and how fast we're talking about in the chart below from a new paper by Read more on this news related to 'Infinitesimal'
  • Pistorius on the line now in murder trial
    Before he killed his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius broke barriers and the world embraced him for it. A Paralympic champion, he won races by infinitesimal margins, describing the pressure of competition as ''nail-biting'' and ''nerve-wracking.'' It's all on the line now for Pistorius, who dug deep as an athlete and reveled in globa Read more on this news related to 'Infinitesimal'

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