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Name: Allan B.
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Why is calculus sometimes referred to as "The Calculus"? I assume that there is some historical reason for this but I can not seem to find the reference.

Bad News! Good News! I could not find a definitive distinction between "calculus" and "the calculus". However, the etymology of the word "calculus" suggests a reason. "Calculus" is the Latin word for the noun "pebble" and the verb "calculare" means "to count", so one might suppose that in the traditions of the 1600's where Latin was taught far more generally than today that "THE calculus" meant "THE way to compute". The good news is in researching your inquiry I ran across a web site devoted to the etymology of mathematical terms that you may find very interesting:

Do not be put off by the fact that the home page is in Chinese. The document is in English.

Vince Calder

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