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When was the imaginary number, i, introduced? Why was it called imaginary? Isn't it just as imaginary as a negative number? Aren't all numbers imaginary, for that matter?

I am not interested in the notation of the number (i or j). I'm interested in why it is called imaginary.

The two questions of which this is supposed to be a copy don't ask why it is called imaginary.

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  • $\begingroup$ Useful books on this topic: An Imaginary Tale: The Story of $\sqrt{-1}$ by Paul J. Nahin and Imagining Numbers by Barry Mazur. $\endgroup$ Jul 12 '21 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @MarioALLEGRANZA. No. I am not interested in the notation of the number. Im interested in why it is called imaginary. $\endgroup$ Jul 12 '21 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Some argue that Descartes was first to use the name in his La Geometrie (1637) - see Mathword - I. Others, such as Leo Corry, argue that Descartes used the name false but described them as imaginary in the sense that they can only be imagined. $\endgroup$
    – nwr
    Jul 12 '21 at 15:46

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