# Multiplicant and Multiplier

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#### passengerman

##### Senior Member
Hi all;

3*2 = 6

Why does english language call the first factor (3) multiplicand and the other one (2) multiplier? What's the difference? I think both numbers have the same function

• #### VicNicSor

##### Banned
They do, technically, have different functions, and in Russian they are called differently too.

Is it not the case in Chinese?

#### PaulQ

##### Senior Member
Multiplicand comes from the post-classical Latin multiplicandus (12th cent. in British sources), it was used as noun from the gerundive of classical Latin multiplicāre = to multiply.

Multiplier = {Multiply + -er} The -er suffix indicates the thing or person that does the action of the verb: Drive -> driver; kill -> killer, etc.
I think both numbers have the same function
The forum is not really equipped to teach mathematics, which are universal - an Indian teacher will be able to help.

#### bennymix

##### Senior Member
Hi all;

3*2 = 6

Why does english language call the first factor (3) multiplicand and the other one (2) multiplier? What's the difference? I think both numbers have the same function
'multiplicand' is in the W-R dictionary, but isn't much used; sounds old fashioned. In some settings the two are quite different. My garden is 10 feet long. I want to double its size (by changing its length). 10 feet is the length, the base figure, the multiplicand, and 2 is the multiplier. Of course if you simply write 10 x 2, then obviously we can just say 'first factor' and 'second factor' to distinguish; they're both factors.

==
Note: multiplier is a common word.

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#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
In basic arithmetic, multiplication is an operation with the commutative property. That means 3 * 2 has the same result as 2 * 3. However division is not commutative. That means 3/2 is not the same as 2/3. Old-fashioned words for division: dividend, divisor, quotient. Old-fashioned words for multiplication: multiplicand, multiplier, product. We have similar old-fashioned words we use with addition (which is commutative) and subtraction (not commutative). So there are 4 sets of words, all similar.

These were old-fashioned words in 1955, when I learned arithmetic. By today they are very old-fashioned.

You can ask "why" about this and many other things in a language. But languages were never "designed", so there was never a "reason for it to be this way". All that exists is history. For the history of English words, I go to the website "etymonline.com" (etymology online).

That website says "multiplicand" comes from Latin "multiplicandus" meaning "to be multiplied". So perhaps "multiplicand" dates back 2,000 years or more, to arithmetic lessons in Latin, in ancient Rome.

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#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
... Old-fashioned words for multiplication: multiplicand, multiplier, result...
When I learned to multiply, which was before 1955, the result of multiplication was called the product. It was still called that when I took advanced math and physics courses in graduate school in the late 1960s. I don't know if it's still current, though.

#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
Yes, it was "product", not "result". My mistake.

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