it's all geek to me

After a conversation with recently I got to thinking: what do all the letters of the Greek alphabet represent? What is their canonical meaning to me? Here's the result of my thoughts.

  • α (alpha) : A quite buggy version of software.
  • β (beta) : A prerelease (but not so buggy) version of software.
  • γ (gamma) : Something you correct when it's too dark.
  • δ (delta) : A small change in something.
  • ε (epsilon) : A very (very) small quantity.
  • ζ (zeta) : No meaning to me: it's up for grabs! But it's one of the squiggles, so hard to disambiguate.
  • &eta: (eta) : Nowt here either. Too easy to confuse with n.
  • θ (theta) : Any old angle. Or temperature. A stalwart friend.
  • ι (iota) : Too boring to mean anything technical.
  • κ (kappa) : Apart from it being some sort of Japanese water-creature, I don't know of anything…
  • λ (lambda) : An unnamed function. Oh and a half-life.
  • μ (mu) : Micro-prefix.
  • ν (nu) : Nowt. Too easy to confuse with v.
  • ξ (xi) : Another squiggly. No use.
  • ο (omicron) : Seems like I should use it. So that when people ask me what “o” is, I can say “It's omicron, actually.”
  • π (pi) : Ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
  • ρ (rho) : Density.
  • σ (sigma) : Standard deviation. Needs to be put to another use because this one's fun to write, with its little tail.
  • τ (tau) : Torque.
  • υ (upsilon) : Another useless letter.
  • φ (phi) : θ's big brother – the other angle in a spherical coordinate system. Or the golden ratio. This is one of the cooler ones.
  • χ (chi) : Vaguely aware of some statistics thing called the χ-square test. And a bit of a Christian overtone to it. Neither of which endear this letter to me.
  • ψ (psi) : Tries to be as cool as φ but falls short. I discard it.
  • ω (omega) : Angular velocity.

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