Category Archives: History of Statistical Terms

HOW OLD ARE THE MEDIAN, MODE, & ARITHMETIC MEAN?

Mean Median Mode (Oldest)

According to one source, the word “mode” was first used (by Karl Pearson) in 1895. The concept of the “median” is a bit older; it was used for the first time by the Frenchman Antoine Cournot in 1843. The notion of the “arithmetic mean” is even older.

QUESTION: When do you think the concept of the “arithmetic mean” was born?

ANSWER: A long, long, LONG time ago. The Pythagoreans studied it in the 5th century B.C.

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YOU LIKELY KNOW THIS PERSON’S NAME . . . BUT CAN YOU GUESS IT?

Mystery Person

This important historical figure:

a) … coined the term “standard deviation”;

b) … had his book, “The Grammar of Science,” selected by 23-year-old Albert Einstein as the first item to be studied in Einstein’s elite “book club”;

c) … co-founded (1885) the “Men & Women’s Club” to discuss gender equality;

d) … has his main stats creation summarized by his last name’s middle letter.

FOR THE ANSWER: go to www.rutherfordjournal.org/article010107.html

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WHEN WAS THE WORD “STATS” FIRST USED?

The abbreviation of “statistics” is “stats,” as in “I’m eager to take my first course in stats.” Though the word “statistics” has a long history (dating back to the 1700s), its 5-letter abbreviation is not nearly so old. One source—the Online Etymology Dictionary—indicates that the abbreviation “stats” was first used in 1961.

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