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infinitesima

English translation: infinitely small parts

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:infinitesima
English translation:infinitely small parts
Entered by: Maureen Holm, J.D., LL.M.
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20:13 Dec 22, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / poetry
English term or phrase: infinitesima
Not a typo. Used in a poem:

"the motoring infinitesima of frictive will" [i.e. ants hollowing out human bone]
Maureen Holm, J.D., LL.M.
United States
Local time: 12:41
infinitely small parts (or the like)
Explanation:
"infinitesima" is the neuter plural of "infinitesimus", a mediaeval pseudo-Latin coinage which literally means "infinitieth" (like "fortieth", "fiftieth", or whatever). Like English ordinals, Latin ordinals can refer to fractions of something: you can come tenth in a race, but you can also get a tenth of the proceeds of a sale. So an "infinitesimum" (neuter) is literally an "infinitieth part" of something, i.e. an infintely small part. "Infinitesima" is just the plural of this.
Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 18:41
Grading comment
Splendid confirmation. I'll let this go to the glossary, even though a definition was not my own objective.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2tiny thingsKpy
4 +1infinitely small parts (or the like)
Richard Benham
4 +1incremental incursionsLaurel Porter
5an amount too small to be counted
Catherine Bolton
3Çäåñü "áåñêîíå÷íîñòü"scherfas


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
tiny things


Explanation:
OED

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Note added at 2003-12-22 20:22:20 (GMT)
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literally it means infinitely small

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-22 20:23:38 (GMT)
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should have said infinitely small things


Kpy
France
Local time: 18:41
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chris Rowson: I think "tiny things" is just fine. I always had a problem with "infinitely small" - for me, that should mean so small it doesn´t exist. Infinitesima ~= trivia.
10 mins
  -> Yes, thanks. The notes were just an explanation.

agree  Nado2002
2 hrs
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The asker has declined this answer

6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
an amount too small to be counted


Explanation:
According to Webster's, an infinitesimal (n) is a quantity too small to be counted.
Root: Mod.L. "Infinitesimus" from Latin "infinitus", meaning "limitless".

Catherine Bolton
Local time: 18:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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The asker has declined this answer

7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
incremental incursions


Explanation:
or tiny, gradual bits of progress...
In this context, at least.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-12-23 01:23:04 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Interesting to have an answer \"declined\" - it\'s new to me. I didn\'t know the what the asker wanted, since she gave no indication. Reading the belated notes, perhaps Ms. Holm would have been better served had she clearly asked \"Does this word exist, and if so, what does it mean\"? Given that framework, and taking Richard\'s Latin nuggets into consideration, I still would stand by my poor declined answer in this context.


Laurel Porter
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ulrike Lieder: Yes, that seems to fit best in this context.
1 hr
  -> Danke, Ulrike - context is king!
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The asker has declined this answer

21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Çäåñü "áåñêîíå÷íîñòü"


Explanation:
Ìîæåò áûòü, ÷òî-òî âðîäå "áåñêîíå÷íîñòü ãðûçó÷åé âîëè". Âñ¸ æå ñòèõ...

scherfas
Israel
Local time: 19:41
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
Grading comment
can't read it
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The asker has declined this answer
Comment: can't read it

4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
infinitely small parts (or the like)


Explanation:
"infinitesima" is the neuter plural of "infinitesimus", a mediaeval pseudo-Latin coinage which literally means "infinitieth" (like "fortieth", "fiftieth", or whatever). Like English ordinals, Latin ordinals can refer to fractions of something: you can come tenth in a race, but you can also get a tenth of the proceeds of a sale. So an "infinitesimum" (neuter) is literally an "infinitieth part" of something, i.e. an infintely small part. "Infinitesima" is just the plural of this.


    Sorry, my Latin dictionary's in storage, but it wouldn't help much anyway.
Richard Benham
France
Local time: 18:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
Splendid confirmation. I'll let this go to the glossary, even though a definition was not my own objective.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Porter: Erudite and helpful, as always.
25 mins
  -> Thanks Laurel.
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