Talk:n-dimensional

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Isn't this really covered by -dimensional? I think there is nothing special about the letter n here. Mathematicians can use any letter they want. I don't see (or like the idea of) corresponding entries for k-sided, n-sided, k-gon, n-gon (see -gon)... Equinox 15:53, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

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[From an earlier comment I made on the talk page.] Isn't this really covered by -dimensional? I think there is nothing special about the letter n here. Mathematicians can use any letter they want. I don't see (or like the idea of) corresponding entries for k-sided, n-sided, k-gon, n-gon (see -gon)... Equinox 20:51, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

n-dimensional is a valid term. The n refers to number and means any number. I’ve never heard of "k-dimensional", nor have I heard of n-sided or n-gon. Where did you see those terms? —Stephen 00:55, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
n does not "refer[] to 'number' and mean[] any number". If a mathematician wants to refer to some n-dimensional space for some n, then that's what he'll call it: "an n-dimensional space for some n". Not merely "an n-dimensional space", leaving the listener to understand that that means that n is any number. (Same, incidentally for n-gon, n-torus, n-sphere, n-hedron, n space, etc. An exception is p-adic number, and there may be more exceptions, but that's the general rule.) This entry is, per nom, covered by the entry -dimensional and should redirect thereto, or be deleted. But this really belongs at RFD rather than here, I think.—msh210 17:29, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
That's somewhat true, but check out google books:"n-dimensional". Still, I think this is SOP: n in general is used this way. —RuakhTALK 22:29, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree unanimously with Stephen and must even admit that n can mean solely number, there is no other possibility. n-gon sounds more than facetious. Please, keep the entry. Bogorm 18:37, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't call n-gon facetious. It turns up with regularity in geometry textbooks, even at the grade school level, at least in the US. It is used in the discussion of polygon general properties to mean "any polygon with n sides" (and therefore n angles as well). For example, the sum of the interior angles for any convex n-gon is 180 x (n - 2). The use of the term n-gon in this situation saves the author a step in explaining that n stands for the number of sides/angles. --EncycloPetey 23:07, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
The point was that Stephen has never heard of n-gon and neither have I, because the habitual letter is k(I am a citizen of the EU). I am forsooth flabbergasted to be apprised of the deviation described by you and taken up with in the USA. Bogorm 17:10, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I am similarly shocked that n-gon is not standard in the UK (but am not completely surprised, given some other significant notational differences I've seen). The term n-gon makes more sense to me intuitively, since we use N for the set of natural numbers, and thus the value of n must be one of those numbers (excluding n < 3 for Euclidean geometry). Doesn't standard set theory notation use the capital letter for the set, and the corresponding lower case letter for the elements of that set? The variable k isn't used much in the US, at least in the pre-collegiate math texts. I think I've only even seen it used in proofs by mathematical induction. --EncycloPetey 20:11, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, n-gon is not uncommon in the UK. Whether or not it is "standard" depends on whom you ask! Dbfirs 17:48, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I have opened a discussion at Wiktionary:Tea room#-dimensional which includes the question as to whether [[-dimensional]] deserves to be an entry, as it does not appear to me to be a suffix, though the entry bears that PoS header. DCDuring TALK 23:47, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
This should be in WT:RFD, not here. N-gon is a definite keep, likewise k-gon if that's what used in the EU, and n-dimensional is no more sum-of-parts than three-dimensional. N-sided looks more like a modifier construction though. DAVilla 19:18, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Allowing both k and n doesn't escape the issue that any letter can be used. (More real examples from Books: "which divides P into a q-gon"; "also belong to a p-gon".) three-dimensional may be notable because it is so common; I don't think the rationale for keeping it can be purely that none of these are sums of parts, because something like seven-hundred-and-six-dimensional would be shot down by anyone. Separately: I don't understand how -sided and -dimensional differ in their construction; could you explain what you mean about only one involving a modifier? Equinox 19:25, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Not entriely sure. Why do we have three-dimensional and four-dimensional after all, and not three-sided or four-sided? Maybe it's that the number of dimensions paints a really different picture in our minds, whereas the number of sides is simple counting.
I'm curious, are p and q prime? If so then a p-gon and an n-gon are not the same thing. In higher-level geometry, each regular polygon is a special creature. Primarily, they can't all be constructed. 67.9.175.207 16:52, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
This is yet another jargon term within my own field. In geophysics, we can and do find buried structures by magnetic, gravitational and seismic surveys. Now, if we find what looks like an ancient lava flow, it's important to know whether the shape is tabular, lenticular, or irregular. Short of digging it up, the best way to do that is with a series of so-called n-dimensional calculations done on the data. The "n" that yields results closest to the data is taken to represent the most probable shape. I'd say this should be kept. -- Pinkfud 19:38, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

RFV passed under the "clearly widespread use" clause: it gets millions of Google hits and thousands of Google Books hits, and no one seems to be doubting its existence. If anyone wants to RFD it, be my guest. —RuakhTALK 12:28, 4 November 2009 (UTC)


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dimensional should really be enough to understand this term. We don't need all kinds of compounds like six-sided etc. -- Liliana 16:42, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Delete. As I remarked last time this came up, mathematicians can substitute any variable for any number (e.g. k-sided, n-sided, k-gon (see -gon). I don't even think we should have three-dimensional in the obvious SoP sense (having three dimensions). Seem to be in a minority here, but as usual I imagine it's mostly people who want entries to hang translations on. Equinox 18:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Don't think about from the foreign language point of view only. There is no point in adding translations to obvious English SoP's and non-idiomatic collocations. n-dimensional is neither. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:27, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
keep. When mathematicians want to express that they are discussing a space with an arbitrary number of dimensions, they normally use "n-dimensional", not e.g. h-dimensional. Other letters, often "m" is used when one wants to discuss a general object (which may have a different number of dimensions than the space, e.g. a plane in a three-dimensional space) in n-dimensional space. --Hekaheka (talk) 04:41, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Keep per Hekaheka. Note that Latin "n" (not other letter) is a generic letter used by mathematicians for arbitrary numbers or hypothetical phenomena, including languages other scripts (upper and lower case - N, n), e.g. Russian "n-мерный", where "n" is a Latin letter. Chinese and Japanese don't use hyphens after "N" in such cases. N-ray: Mandarin: N射线, Japanese: N線. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 03:07, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
But there are also n-gons, n-by-m matrices, etc. etc. so it's still SoP and it is n that ought to be translated if anything. Equinox 13:25, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
What if we look at them case by case? There are many prefixes and words using them, not all of them are productive and common but "n-dimensional" is certainly commonly used and attestable but not sure about sure about other examples you had in mind. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:22, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
(Re what Hekaheka wrote.) I am a mathematician by training (though not in current practice). My research was in low-dimensional topology, so I am very familiar with the topological uses of ___-dimensional. If a mathematician wants to say "n-dimensional for some n" or "n-dimensional for arbitrary n" or "n-dimensional for all n" then that's exactly what he says. A mathematician will sometimes say "n-dimensional" without specifying what n he's talking about, but only very informally: it would not be written down thusly, and I therefore doubt it's attested. Per Ungoliant, below, it's also not idiomatic. Delete, or, better yet, redirect to [[dimensional]].​—msh210 (talk) 07:06, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep as a set phrase. bd2412 T 11:30, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
keep A layperson might think it has special meaning and an article can serve to clarify that it's simply math-talk and nothing special.—This unsigned comment was added by 105.236.255.52 (talkcontribs) at 11:08, 9 July 2013.

Kept. bd2412 T 01:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)


Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 16:52