The definitions tag has no usage guidance.

**8**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Grothendieck Topologies versus Pretopologies

The wikipedia article(s) as well as the nlab article(s) about Grothendieck topologies and Grothendieck pretopologies are careful to differentiate the two very emphatically and to point out that ...

**10**

votes

**3**answers

704 views

### What makes a distance?

In the answers to my previous question, I learned that there are different concepts of distance, that is of distance-like functions with the usual metric being only the most popular and important one.
...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

292 views

### What is the analog of “monotonic” for scalar functions on surfaces?

"monotonic" is well defined for functions $f(x)$, where e.g. $x\in[0,1]$ and $f(x)\in\mathbb{R}$. The quality I particularly care about is that if $f(x)$ is monotonic then it will not have any local ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

619 views

### A scheme simple over Spec(A)?

What does it mean to say that a scheme $X$ is simple over $Spec(A)$ ?
I stumbled on this terminology in a paper of S. Lubkin entitled "On a conjecture of Andre Weil".

**1**

vote

**1**answer

314 views

### Simple Equivariant homology [no borel-Moore]

Hey. I'm working with Bredon's equivariant cohomology. At some point I need to compute the $4$th equivariant cohomology group of $S^1 \x D^3$ relatively to its boundary for the antipodal action of $\...

**1**

vote

**2**answers

583 views

### equivalence of definitions of Carmichael numbers [closed]

I would like to prove the equivalence of the two most common definitions of a composite integer $n > 1$ being a Carmichael number:
$a^n \equiv a \mod n $ for all $a$ $\iff a^{n-1} \equiv 1 \mod n$ ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Surreal exponentiation — are the varying definitions equivalent? If not, is there agreement on which ones are better?

The surreal numbers are sometimes introduced as a place where crazy expressions like $(\omega^2+5\omega-13)^{1/3-2/\omega}+\pi$ (to use the nLab's example) make sense. The problem is, there seem to ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### What is “augmented algebra”?

Really sorry for this question, but googling for some time did not help me. I was trying to understand the meaning of the following phrase:
Let B be an augmented algebra over a semi-simple algebra T.
...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Geometric picture of invariant differential of an elliptic curve

What is the geometric meaning of $\omega=dx/(2y+a_1x+a_3)$ for an elliptic curve?
This question is an adjunct to MO Q1 on formal laws and L-series, which motivated Q2. Q1 (Silverman) and Darmon (pg. ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

747 views

### Non-split groups

I am looking for a reference with definitions on what it means for an algebraic group to be split, quasi-split, and non-split. I would like to see some examples of the different "types".
Thanks,
Tom

**13**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### What are examples of theorems which were once “valid”, then became “invalid” as standard definitions shifted?

That is, results established by correct proofs within some framework, yet the manner in which their author or the general mathematical community at the time would describe these results would, in ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

714 views

### On figurate numbers

Do you know a text where I can find a definition of polygonal number that is both geometrically and operationally sound?
I've basically seen two ways in which this topic is approached in the ...

**6**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Locally constant functions with compact support = smooth ?

Hello,
I have a trivial question, but I hope that you don't mind helping. I often get confused with basic definitions.
Let F be a p-adic field. Then (from what I understand) $C_c^{\infty}(F)$ is the ...

**0**

votes

**4**answers

554 views

### What is the quantity 2(handles)+crosscaps called?

It is well-known that up to homeomorphism, the complete set of orientable surfaces is $\lbrace S_g : g=0,1,\dots \rbrace$, where $S_g$ is the sphere with $g$ handles. The complete set of non-...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

794 views

### Unitary groups over number fields

When defining unitary groups over number fields, one usually takes $F$ to be a totally real number field, $E$ a CM quadratic extension of $F$, and $V$ a hermitian space attached to $E/F$. Then $U(V)$ ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

273 views

### Why is Pic^0(C) of a curve C a variety?

Let $C$ be an abstract non-singular curve.
I'm having a hard time finding a reference for why $\text{Pic}^0(C)$ is a variety.
Any pointers towards a reference would be appreciated.

**28**

votes

**11**answers

6k views

### What does the adjective “natural” actually mean?

Terms like "in the natural way" or "the natural X" are used frequently in mathematical writing. While it is certainly clear most of the time what is meant, on occasion, I have been confounded. The ...

**4**

votes

**3**answers

945 views

### Lattices: why require bilinear form to be integral?

This is a quite localized question, but I hope it won't be closed as unfit to MO. Well, a lattice $\Lambda$ in $\mathbb{R}^n$ is a discrete subgroup generated by a basis. Such a lattice gets a ...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

828 views

### Transitive closure of multigraphs

The transitive closure of a directed graph, is another directed graph which encodes the reachability of nodes from other nodes. If $G$ is a graph, the edge $(v_1,v_2)$ is in it's transitive closure $G^...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

460 views

### Euclidean Function at 0

In a few places where I have looked the Euclidean Function of a Euclidean Domain is only being defined for non-zero elements. I am teaching an undergraduate course and I am trying to make things ...

**67**

votes

**18**answers

9k views

### Can a mathematical definition be wrong?

This question originates from a bit of history. In the first paper on quantum Turing machines, the authors left a key uniformity condition out of their definition. Three mathematicians subsequently ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

915 views

### Is there an intrinsic definition of fractal (i.e. not embedded in euclidean space)?

Long ago, manifolds were embedded subsets of euclidean space defined by polynomials. Later, using the gluing of open sets, people realized they could define manifolds intrinsically. And in certain ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

795 views

### Is there a mathematical object called “ivy”?

As the title says, is there a mathematical object referred to as "ivy" or "ivy type" or similar?
I have a type of graph where this name fits perfectly, but I don't want it to clash with something ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

301 views

### Do you know of any asymmetric, nonparametric measure of dependence?

A measure of dependence is a way to assign a number (usually normalized between 0 and 1) to a couple of random variable, such that $\delta(X,Y)=0$ if and only of $X$ and $Y$ are independent, and $\...

**27**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### What is Serre's condition (S_n) for sheaves?

The Serre's condition $(S_n)$, especially $(S_2)$, has been mentioned in a few MO answers: see here and here for example. I am pretty sure I have seen it in other questions as well, but could not ...

**7**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Definition of forgetful functor

I was wondering if it is possible to make a formal definition of what it means for a functor to be forgetful. That is, using only the terminology of categories. I have seen so many examples of ...

**3**

votes

**5**answers

364 views

### Strings and “co-subsequences”

Let $S$ be a string over some alphabet $\Sigma$. It is well known that a substring of $S$ is commonly defined as a sequence of contiguous elements from $S$, while a subsequence of $S$ is a sequence ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Category Theoretic Interpretation of Matroids?

Hello everyone! First time poster, long time lurker here. I have a really basic question that has been bugging me for sometime. Specifically, I'm not exactly sure what the 'correct' category ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

296 views

### Q-construction and Gabriel-Zisman Localization

It might be a stupid question.
When I took a look at the definition of Q-construction. It makes for an exact category $P$, one defines a new category $QP$ whose objects are the same as $P$ but ...

**9**

votes

**0**answers

637 views

### What are the relationship between various definitions for quasi coherent sheaves?

It seems that there are many definitions of quasi coherent sheaves(modules). There is a nice page on nLab quasi coherent sheaves
My questions are:
Are there any other definitions of quasi coherent ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### What is a proper stack?

I have seen the use of the word "proper Deligne-Mumford stack". Now, it is clear to me what it means for a morphism f of stacks to be proper: as usual it should be representable, and every morphism ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### When is a classification problem “wild”?

I hope someone can point me to a quick definition of the following terminology.
I keep coming across wild and tame in the context of classification problems, often adorned with quotes, leading me to ...

**89**

votes

**26**answers

39k views

### What are the most misleading alternate definitions in taught mathematics?

I suppose this question can be interpreted in two ways. It is often the case that two or more equivalent (but not necessarily semantically equivalent) definitions of the same idea/object are used in ...

**3**

votes

**2**answers

315 views

### Definition modifications without choice

What definitions or equivalencies between definitions for standard set theory objects (such as large cardinals) do not hold or do not carry through in the expected manner to the world without choice? ...