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# extrapolate - where did this word suddenly come from?

17 replies

gramercy · 08/03/2011 11:48

Is it just me? I'd never heard of this word and then suddenly it's everywhere.

People talk about extrapolating information on threads on MN, and in meetings I'm bombarded with showers of the blessed word.

I understand it means "Extend the application of (a method or conclusion, esp. one based on statistics) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable."

But many people seem to use it as a fancier version of "extract".

OP posts:
iwasyoungonce · 08/03/2011 11:50

I've known this word for years.

But I do find that when you learn a new word, suddenly it seems to be everywhere!

chibi · 08/03/2011 11:51

all the cool people have moved on and are now using interpolate

hth

nickelprincess · 08/03/2011 11:53

extrapolate is a scientific word - it means to take the data you've been given and make a pattern with it -
so if you've got 2,4,6,8,10, you can extrapolate and say that "it's every 2nd number, so extrapolating from the results, we can get 12,14,16,18, etc"

from wikipedia

nickelprincess · 08/03/2011 11:54

i haven't heard it being used in everyday speech, though.
I sometimes use it when i'm extrapolating, but that's because i know how to use it

gramercy · 08/03/2011 11:55

But isn't interpolate the inverse? Interpolating means you're making a pattern from known data; extrapolating means you're making an educated guess. Is that right?

OP posts:
ShatnersBassoon · 08/03/2011 11:56

I was saying 'extrapolate' more than twenty years ago. Extrapolation is a useful mathematical function. It doesn't mean the same as 'extract'.

DirtyMartini · 08/03/2011 11:58

I have known this word all my adulthood, I think - not showing off, I just wonder why. I think my dad used to use it. He also said "lackadaisical" a lot. He's an absent-minded professor.

Interpolate, OTOH, is a word I'm not confident about using although I do know what it means.

Ormirian · 08/03/2011 11:59

No, it's not new.

gramercy · 08/03/2011 11:59

Well, yes, I understood it was a mathematical term and then all of a sudden I'm hearing it quite a lot and to my mind used wrongly.

OP posts:
nickelprincess · 08/03/2011 12:27

no, interpolate is using data you know to make assumptions within the range of data you've already got.

so, if you have 2,4,6,8,10,14,16,18, you can say "i'm interpolating that I can also have 12, because all the other numbers are in 2s"
or better, if you make a graph of line of best fit, then you can interpolate that the data you want will lie on the line, even if it's not in the data you've collected.

wiki's explanation

cattj · 11/03/2011 22:23

Extrapolate - it's as old as the hills.

I did completely throw someone by using "concatenate" yesterday. :)

lubeybooby · 11/03/2011 22:54

I first heard it when doing psychology a level in 1999. It's one of my fave words and I have no idea why I just like it. But anyway yes old as the hills.

trixymalixy · 11/03/2011 22:59

It's funny how words that you suddenly become aware of you then start to hear all the time!!

I did a mathematical degree and work in a mathematical job so have been aware of extrapolate for a long time.

I use concatenate almost every day!!

razors · 11/03/2011 23:02

This happened to me as well - Squaully? showers - never heard it before then all of a sudden every weather forcast there's these squaully showers! what's a squaully shower?

cattj · 12/03/2011 07:31

Squally usually means it contains gusts of wind, so not just rain, but rain and wind, and gusty wind at that.

razors · 12/03/2011 21:27

Thanks cattj lets hope we don't get too much of those :)

blueshoes · 12/03/2011 21:56

It is just a regular word. Always been around. Never heard it used more or less in recent times.