Why "m" in y=mx+b?
Date: Around 1993
I am looking for origin of the use of "m" for slope in the
"y=mx+b" form of, a linear equation. While you are at it perhapsexplains why
the "b" was used for the y-coordinate of the y-intercept. I am of the opinion
that "m" was used by Descartes for montee, i.e. "going up". Any justification
for that opinion?
I am trying to find your answer in a book called History of
Mathematics, but I am still looking for the answer (it is a very thick book).
I will try to find it soon, but you may want to check your local library for
any book relating to the history of math. You would be surprised by how many
are out there.
Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives
Update: June 2012