Math-phobic Glossary of Math Terms

I decided to start 2013 with something playful. Over the years I have heard from many of my girlfriends that they feel quite uneasy with math. Below is my attempt to define math as something relevant, fun and hip. Please share it with the women in your life. And, let me know what you think about it.

Random : an arbitrary piece of clothing you are picking from your closet without even looking at the mess in it.  Beware - if you cheat and feel the material type, buttons, zippers or, god forbid, take a peak - it will be a preudo-random item.

Average : Something you first want but then try to avoid to be.

Positive numbers: height extensions that high heels provide to you.

Negative numbers: The depths your pumps sink into the ground when you find yourself at the back yard party.

Infinity : the amount of sweets that your kids consume while you are away.

Parallel: your Sunday plans to your husband's Sunday plans during the football season. Absolutely nothing in common.

Perpendicular: your plans for the same Sunday to your teenager's plans. He needs you as a driver but for the rest please stay as far as possible.

Arithmetic series: your clothes' size, sampled every decade.

Geometric series: dramatically increasing amounts of gray hair you observe monthly on your head.

Integral: the amount of cork in your platform shoes.

Derivative: the steepness of the arch of you heel.

Signal-to-noise ratio: proportion of the neatly folded items to the messy stuff in your closet.

Median:  you, dividing your kids' quarrels.

Acute angle: a narrow corner where you frequently want to hide.

Obtuse angle: a corner where you really are - observed and exposed.

Square Root: size of the present inside the holiday gift box, as compared with the size of the box.

Pythagorean Theorem: something to consider if your bed is too short for you. Perhaps you can fit on diagonal - it is just a square root of the sum of squares of the sides.

Fraction: you get what you get and you don't get upset.

Sine function: pessimist's happiness curve (indifferent and cautious at first, regularly surprised to the good but always finds a reason to push the mood back down).
Cosine function: optimist's happiness curve (happy to start with,  regularly disappointed, but always brings his spirits back up).

Exponential growth - the speed rumors travel.

Parabola: the complimenting soft shape of your shirt's neckline exposing a bit but not too much.

Logarithm:  how much does it take to make two (or more) kids to do what you planned.

Factorial:  all your exes, numbered and multiplied.

Correlation: the coefficient of your marriage describing how strongly two strangers can connect and continuously affect each other.

Equation: your life with its ups and downs, some stable constants and a few unknowns.

Common denominator: greatly compromised choice for a family movie night.

Top image by she was, distributed under CCL.


  1. Complimentary (1): matching pastel colors.
    Complimentary (2): a dinner date who says good things about you.
    Complimentary (3): someone who's age added to yours = 30, 60, 90 or 180 (OK multiple choice. I didn't want to write 90).
    Complimentary (4): people suited to each other.
    Complimentary (5): shoes for every occasion.

  2. Thank you for today's made me smile and gave me a few out loud laughs.

    Sherene via email

  3. Very funny! How about Irrational---your kid's excuse for not doing her algebra homework.

  4. We had a moment of perpendicular parenting a bar mitzvah for a friend of our son's we were also invited to... My husband began to walk toward our son to talk to him. Our son saw his father coming and started going in the other direction. I laughed when my husband told me what happened and pointed him toward your post! The whole thing seemed so much more humorous now that the "behavior" had a name.


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