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World of Words
A monthly blog of interesting words, phrases, and idioms.  Like us on Facebook to receive new posts.

We took a short break from the blog for the summer, but we're back this month with a post to help students celebrate their return to school. This month's word is especially for students (and teachers) who love obscure mathematical terminology. The word is quaquadrate, and it comes from a 1701 text by Samuel Jeake, titled A Compleat Body of Arithmetick, in Four Books.

The word quaquadrate is explained by Mr. Jeake as "a fquare of fquares, fquaredly fquared."

Whoops! I'm sorry - typography was a bit different back in 1701. That should have read: "a square of squares, squarely squared."

Does that clear things up for you? No?

Well, a simpler explanation is that it's a sixteenth power.

For example, the number 65,536 is 216, and therefore it is a quaquadrate.

Just as you could say 22 is "two squared," and 23 is "two cubed," you could say 216 is "two quaquadrated."

Of course, I'm not sure why you would want to do this. Saying "two squared" is significantly shorter than saying "two to the second," but there's no savings in saying "two quaquadrated"; it has has exactly as many syllables as "two to the sixteenth."

Besides, "two to the sixteenth" rolls off the tongue a lot more easily than "two quaquadrated."

But if you want to impress your math geek friends, then by all means try to work this word, along with its companion words (biquadrated, triquadrated, and quinquadrated) into your everyday conversations.

I'm sure they'll be impressed.

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