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infinitesimal

[in-fin-i-tes-uh-muh l] /ˌɪn fɪn ɪˈtɛs ə məl/
adjective
1.
indefinitely or exceedingly small; minute:
infinitesimal vessels in the circulatory system.
2.
immeasurably small; less than an assignable quantity:
to an infinitesimal degree.
3.
of, relating to, or involving infinitesimals.
noun
4.
an infinitesimal quantity.
5.
Mathematics. a variable having zero as a limit.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; < New Latin infīnītēsim(us), equivalent to Latin infīnīt(us) infinite + -ēsimus suffix of ordinal numerals + -al1
Related forms
infinitesimality, infinitesimalness, noun
infinitesimally, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for infinitesimally
  • Even the infinitesimally small and nutty realm of the quantum can't escape this sort of binary logic.
  • Another way is that who would discover something so infinitesimally small and why.
  • T cells have the ability to search out infinitesimally tiny markers on cells.
  • The odds that the bullets collide are infinitesimally small.
  • If by infinitesimally probabilities, you mean zero, say zero.
  • So he does his research anyway and everything he reads tells him the odds of something bad happening are infinitesimally small.
  • For an infinitesimally thin surface element, stresses are tangential as radial stresses go to zero on the surface.
  • To reach the wall you'd need to take an infinite number of steps, and by the end they'd become infinitesimally small.
  • If your tank is half full then the car is lighter and your mileage will improve by an infinitesimally small amount.
  • At room temperature, this metal must have an infinitesimally small vapor pressure.
British Dictionary definitions for infinitesimally

infinitesimal

/ˌɪnfɪnɪˈtɛsɪməl/
adjective
1.
infinitely or immeasurably small
2.
(maths) of, relating to, or involving a small change in the value of a variable that approaches zero as a limit
noun
3.
(maths) an infinitesimal quantity
Derived Forms
infinitesimally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for infinitesimally

infinitesimal

adj.

1710 (1650s as a noun), "infinitely small," from Modern Latin infinitesimus, from Latin infinitus "infinite" (see infinite) + -esimus, as in centesimus "hundredth." Related: Infinitesimally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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infinitesimally in Science
infinitesimal
  (ĭn'fĭn-ĭ-těs'ə-məl)   
Adjective  Capable of having values approaching zero as a limit.

Noun  A function or variable continuously approaching zero as a limit.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for infinitesimally

infinitesimal

in mathematics, a quantity less than any finite quantity yet not zero. Even though no such quantity can exist in the real number system, many early attempts to justify calculus were based on sometimes dubious reasoning about infinitesimals: derivatives were defined as ultimate ratios of infinitesimals, and integrals were calculated by summing rectangles of infinitesimal width. As a result, differential and integral calculus was originally referred to as the infinitesimal calculus. This terminology gradually disappeared as rigorous concepts of limit, continuity, and the real numbers were formulated.

Learn more about infinitesimal with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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