3 comments on “A point of clarification

  1. Every dictionary definition I’ve found so far (five or six) disagrees with you on that. They all say threefold means either “having three parts” or “three times as many or as much”.

    • I KNOW! And it makes me CRAZY!!

      I’m sure it started with some math-a-phobe freaking out at having to explain what an exponent was, and then he ended up rewriting the definition to appease his own widdle scaredy pants…

      Serious and for real, three-fold is 2^3. Really. That’s what it SAYS. Three FOLDS.

      • Sorry, the roots of -fold as a multiplicative suffix have origins going back to antiquity, before exponents were even formalized, serious and for real. Even mathematicians use it thus: consider when they speak of “threefold symmetry” for example.

        And then there’s the fact that the word multiply comes from Latin multi- — many — and plicare — FOLD. Will you next tell us that “multiplication” really means exponentiation?

        To understand this, consider that there may be many ways of folding something besides in half. 🙂

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