Algebra is pain!

Long, twisted story that starts with Polyphemus, the cyclops.  I wasn’t sure if Polyphemus meant anything.  Polynomial means many names…polygon means any side…Polypocket means a little tiny doll with a world all to herself.  Polyphemus?  Wouldn’t it be eye-ronic if the name of the one-eyed beast meant “many-eyes” or something.  It doesn’t.  Many voices.  A lot of people spoke about the cyclops, so it makes sense.  To find this out, I had to go onto a handy website and search for the etymology of Polyphemus.  I was whisked away to a list of Greek prefixes.  Alphabetically, what was first on the list?  ALG.  I had to click on it because it starts Algebra.  It means “pain.”  Now, I know algebra is derived (well, calculus is derived…algebra is kind of manipulated…) from Arabic, so I know algebra has nothing to do with pain.  I’m still going to tell my students.  That should be the end.  It’s not.  Alg means pain, really?  What words having ANYthing to do with pain have alg in them?  Analgesic?  But they relieve pain, not cause it.  WAIT.  Prefix A/An means without.  WITHOUT PAIN! Geniuses, you ancient Greeks, every single one.  


Algebra?  Pain in the bra?  Maybe that’s why traditionally, males have a better grasp on algebra?  No bra = no pain?  

**The opinions offered in the last sentence in no way portray my own opinions.  It was just a joke.  


About Mr. T

Well, I'm interested in math. Teaching it, learning it, describing it, living it. Creating it. Most importantly (to me) is helping others appreciate it as much as I do.
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