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American English shortening of mathematics, 1890; the British preference, maths, is attested from 1911.
"a mowing," Old English mæð "mowing, cutting of grass," from Proto-Germanic *mediz (cf. Old Frisian meth, Old High German mad, German Mahd "mowing, hay crop"), from PIE *me- "to cut down grass or grain with a sickle or scythe" (see mow).