adjective
The definition of infinitesimal is something extremely small or very close to 0, or too small to be measured.
When you have only a single grain of rice, this is an example of a time when you have an infinitesimal amount of rice.
infinitesimal
- too small to be measured
- Math. of or pertaining to an infinitesimal
Origin of infinitesimal
Modern Latin infinitesimus ; from Classical Latin infinitus (see infinite), influenced, influence by centesimus, hundredth ; from centum, hundred- an infinitesimal quantity
- Math. a variable that approaches zero as a limit
infinitesimal
adjective
- Immeasurably or incalculably minute.
- Mathematics Capable of having values approaching zero as a limit.
noun
- An immeasurably or incalculably minute amount or quantity.
- Mathematics A function or variable continuously approaching zero as a limit.
Origin of infinitesimal
From New Latin &imacron;nf&imacron;n&imacron;t&emacron;simus, infinite in rank, from Latin &imacron;nf&imacron;n&imacron;tus, infinite; see infinite.Related Forms:
- in′fin·i·tes′i·mal·ly
adverb
infinitesimal
Adjective
(comparative more infinitesimal, superlative most infinitesimal)
- Incalculably, exceedingly, or immeasurably minute; vanishingly small.
- Do you ever get the feeling that you are but an infinitesimal speck, swallowed by the vastness of the universe and beyond?
- (mathematics) Of or pertaining to values that approach zero as a limit.
- (informal) Very small.
Usage notes
- Strictly, this adjective, like infinite, is incomparable, so more infinitesimal and most infinitesimal are proscribed, especially in the mathematical sense. However, these forms do occur in informal usage, where the very small (but measurable) sense is most common.
Noun
(plural infinitesimals)