from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of, relating to, or based on the number 60.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. of, pertaining by, proceeding by, or based on the number sixty
- n. a sexagesimal fraction
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Pertaining to, or founded on, the number sixty.
- n. A sexagesimal fraction.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Sixtieth; pertaining to the number sixty.
- n. A sexagesimal fraction. See I.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. of or relating to or reckoning in sixtieths
It also doesn't fit into the Babylonians' sexagesimal system that is based on 60 and 12 the same system that gave us 60 minutes in an hour and two sets of 12 hours in a day.
He has written out tables of factors in a base 60, or sexagesimal, system, and stared in wonder at the patterns they revealed.
The Babylonians, who made great advances in math and astronomy, embraced the Sumerian sexagesimal base, and later the Egyptians, followed by the Greeks, based their time-counting methods on the Babylonian way—which is why, to this day, there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour.
While base 60 seems like the creation of an extraordinarily fertile imagination, sexagesimal has historical pedigree.
But the ancient Sumerians eschewed simplicity and, counting various bones in each finger, came up with the 60-based, vaguely erotic sexagesimal numerical system.
Ptolemy could have worked out those epicycles much faster with Pentium-based hardware although the IEEE sexagesimal floating fraction standard is pretty dodgy.
The Sumerians and Akkadians normally used a sexagesimal numbering system, the basis of our division of the hour and minute into 60 units.
Hence, while one race may use a decimal, another a quinary-vigesimal, and another a sexagesimal scale, and while one system may actually be inherently superior to another, no user of one method of reckoning need ever think of any other method as possessing practical inconveniences, of which those employing it are ever conscious.
In the case of the subsidiary base 12, for which the Teutonic races have always shown such a fondness, the dozen and gross of commerce, the divisions of English money, and of our common weights and measures are probably an outgrowth of this preference; and the Babylonian base, 60, has fastened upon the world forever a sexagesimal method of dividing time, and of measuring the circumference of the circle.
Aside from our common decimal scale, there exist in the English language other methods of counting, some of them formal enough to be dignified by the term _system_ -- as the sexagesimal method of measuring time and angular magnitude; and the duodecimal system of reckoning, so extensively used in buying and selling.
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