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Rank and File

Alex from Columbia, Missouri, wonders about rank and file, meaning “the members of the body of an organization as opposed to its leaders.” In 12th-century France, the words renc or ranc referred to a row of soldiers. The word file means...


A minuend is a quantity from which something is to be subtracted. The amount subtracted is called the subtrahend. This is part of a complete episode.


A cabochon is a convex gem or bead that’s highly polished but not faceted. This is part of a complete episode.

Pi Day

On March 14, or 3/14, fans of both dessert and decimals come together to celebrate Pi Day. This year, though, it’s not enough to call it at 3/14, because it’s 3/14/15, and at 9:26 and 53 seconds, the first ten digits of pi will all be...

Etymology of Google

Before the search engine Google, there was the word googol. As mathematician Edward Kasner recounts in his book Mathematics and the Imagination, he asked his 9-year-old nephew Milton to coin a word for a huge number, specifically 10 to the 100th...