I wonder the origin of the term "trace" of a matrix.
As I googled, it was the English translation of the German word "Spur" and it appeared in the translation of H. Weyl's Raum, Zeit, Materie. http://jeff560.tripod.com/t.html
Recently, I found an article to mention the origin of "Spur". http://senseis.xmp.net/?JapaneseGoTerms%2FDiscussion
I quoted the paragraph from the article.
ilan: Remind me of G.H. Hardy using the term "quadratfrei" because he said he couldn't find a good English equivalent. Looking back on it years later, I suppose it was a joke. P.J. Cohen tells the story that the use of "trace" in matrix theory comes from the translation of the German word "spur" which means trace, but which was used by Germans who simply took the English name "spur" given by Cayley because the main diagonal looks like a spur. I have never checked its apocryphality (not a real word). Here is something I do know about: The English term "continued fraction" should be "fraction continué" in French but has been corrupted in the last 100 years into "fraction continue." Recently, some famous mathematicians working at Orsay have translated this corruption into English publishing a paper on "continuous fractions" despite all their English references usage of the correct term. One can wonder at their lack of scholarship, or whether it is an elaborate joke. In any case, everyone I ever mentioned this to didn't care except for wondering why I did.
I think it's very interesting story. Is it true?
If it's not a true story, why on earth did Germans call it "Spur"?