Various mathematical terms use the following prefixes, which are presumably also morphemes:

hyper
super
meta

These have different dictionary definitions, as I understand it "hyper" refers to 4 or more dimensions, and "super" means "more general" etc...

However in terms such as following:

Hyperoperation
Hyperbolic
Superelipse
Metaball

Are thease prefixes used more for emphasis than meaning?

  • 1
    Good question. I am personally puzzled by the use of "hypertranscendental" to refer to something that appears to mean "metatranscendental." "Hypertranscendental" supposedly has as its synonym "transcendentally transcendental" which would imply "meta-," especially given that the relationship between "hypertranscendental functions" i.e. factorial/gamma and "transcendental functions" i.e. exponential is essentially a meta one. – SAH Nov 2 '16 at 0:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

"Meta" means something like "mentally take a step back and look at what your doing". Compare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphilosophy.
In my experience this is actually what you do when calculating a "hyperoperator". That's why I'd actually argue, "metaoperator" would be a more appropriate name for it.

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