Random use of the word ‘exponential’

By Marcus Wilson 15/11/2009

One of the things I find mildly amusing is the way that physics and maths words get taken up into everyday vocabulary, where they take on a slightly different meaning from the original. The word ‘random’ seems to be a favourite in NZ at present, as in "I bumped into this random guy and he said this random thing". Others include ‘infinite’, which means merely very big "The All Blacks were infinitely better than the Wallabies"; and ‘exponential’, which means increasing rapidly "The NZ dollar is increasing exponentially".

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  • Dr Albert Bartlett: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”