Did you know that *algebra* and *algorithm* are not only related, but both derived from a (mangled) translation of a mathematician? Yep!

In the 9th century, a Baghdad scholar named Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote a famous treatise on mathematics that introduced Arabic numbers and computing to the West for the first time. In honor of him, these ways of working with numbers were named after him…in a way. Medieval Latin used *algorismus *for this “system of computation,” which was their bad translation of *al-Khwarizmi*. Over the centuries, *algorismus* eventually became *algorithm.*

Similarly, *algebra* (also joining the language in the medieval days) was influenced by this same name, altered slightly to reflect the Arabic *al jabra*, which means “reunion of broken parts.” By the 1550s, it meant “formal mathematics; the analysis of equations.” It wasn’t until the 17th century that the pronunciation became AL-gebra; until then, it was the more Arabic-influenced al-GEB-ra.

How do you stand with algebra? Love it? Hate it?

I loved algebra (1 AND 2) in high school. Then, it was simply solving a puzzle. But I’m doing it in college this year, so it might be more complicated. I’m kinda scared… !

I liked Alg I, but II not so much, gotta say. Now, geometry and trig–those were my favorites. Have fun with the college algebra! I’m sure you’ll do great!

I hated Algebra!! Hated anything to do with numbers except cooking. I still hate any type of Math. Took Algebra 1 in high school and almost flunked out. If it wasn’t for my general math teacher I had the year before I would flunked out. (She was also a good friend of my mom’s.)

You’ve seen the meme about “post the cover of a book that made you cry” with the cover of an algebra textbook as the response? Yeah, that was me! But now I feel totally vindicated, because I know the word origins of the torture device now known as “AL-gebra”!

I LOVE THAT MEME!

For years I had a recurring dream: I am about to graduate from college, only to find out I have completely forgotten to attend the one last class I need for my degree – ALGEBRA. Completely unnecessary when all one wants to do is write, but for some stupid reason my university requires it. I sit down to take the final in a classroom I’ve avoided all semester, a panic attack hits, and I wake up.

To this day, I have never needed to figure out how many pounds of chicken I need at X many dollars per pound, and how many pounds I need at Y many dollars per pound to feed Z many people.

There’s nothing logical about math. Algebra (and fractions, geometry, physics, trigonometry and anything else of that ilk) is all gibberish to me.

Thank you for providing a safe place for me to release the trauma.

I love it that these readers are releasing their trauma here, and I’m smiling and giggling.

Yep, I too liked Geometry and Trig but not Algebra. All those equations were too much! My best friend in KY taught algebra and I’m sure she would be devastated!!