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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 of infinitesimal
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for infinitesimal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To be sure, the wage was infinitesimal, while the toil was body-breaking soul-breaking.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Here we find no infinitesimal subdivision and no multiplicity of crops.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • Every beginning is infinitesimal, and wrapt in the mystery of creation.

    Salted With Fire George MacDonald
  • It is not the infinitesimal of time, but the negative of time.

    Parmenides Plato
  • Yet surely (replied Socrates) that is only an infinitesimal part of generalship.

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for infinitesimal

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 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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infinitesimal 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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