What Does the Term “nth Degree” Mean and Where Did the Mathematical Symbol Come From?

To take something to the “nth degree” means we have exhausted all possibilities.

The letter n is the mathematical symbol meaning “any number.”

If you say “nth plus 1” you mean “to the utmost.”

The expression derives from the mathematical formula n plus 1 meaning “one more than any number,” which of course is beyond the outer limits.

The “nth degree” originated as university slang in the nineteenth century.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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