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> Basically, a manifold means something that takes the flow of gases from a one-to-many or a many-to-one.

A perfectly sensible meaning given the construction of the word. There is something about mathematics and linguistics (and to some extent CS) that encourages the creation of confusing, meaningless names like "accusative (case)", "(algebraic) ideal" and "(geometric) manifold".




> A perfectly sensible meaning given the construction of the word. There is something about mathematics and linguistics (and to some extent CS) that encourages the creation of confusing, meaningless names like "accusative (case)", "(algebraic) ideal" and "(geometric) manifold".

Confusing is hard to argue, but meaningless is, I think, hard to defend. These all have meanings; I could speak to the latter two, and I'm sure a linguist could speak to the former. They may not be obvious meanings, but that's not the same as saying they're meaningless. (I regard much business jargon, for example, as literally meaningless, defined only in terms of other words that also seem meaningless to me; but I'm sure an MBA would take issue with that characterisation.) I don't know who coined 'manifold', but 'ideal', for example, was literally Kummer's word coined to describe things that behaved like, but weren't quite, numbers in the ordinary sense (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_number )—much like the "ideal points" of hyperbolic geometry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_point).

(EDIT: Fortunately no_identd knows more about the history of 'manifold' than I do (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19659571).)


I don't think "encouragement" is quite right, ambiguities are somewhat the default - it's the opposite of encourage, an absence of something, there must be a competitive force present to reduce their likelihood.

I think there are less ambiguities in common language because they share so much context and compete; where as there is enough separation between certain disciplines for the semantics of esoteric words to evolve and coexist independently without issue until viewed externally where it appears ambiguous - this is even true for mathematical notations.




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