Archive for March 15, 2012

The Ides Have It

When my sons woke up today, I told them, “Beware the Ides of March.”

To which Alex responded, “What are ides?”

I explained that the ides are roughly the middle day of the month. But then Alex asked why the ides was the 15th of March instead of the 16th, since March has 31 days.

“I don’t know.”

Nor do I know why the word ides is used to refer to this date. It comes from the Latin word idus, which can be translated to — yep, you guessed it — the English word ides. Nor do I know why ides is singular.

I also don’t know why the ides of March, May, July and October occur on the 15th day, but the ides of every month occur on the 13th day. But it does lead to a fun math problem for a four-year-old to figure out:

What is the maximum number of days between the ides in consecutive months?

The following calendar may help you figure this out.

Ides Calendar

Here are some math jokes related to things in the middle:

A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.

What was Zeno of Elea’s middle name?

And all this talk of ides made me think of a really stupid joke from a really stupid joke book that I read when I was in elementary school. (That was a long time ago, hence the dated references, but maybe some of my older readers will appreciate it.)

If a woman named Ida married Dan Rather, got divorced, then took Bill Knott as her second husband… she’d be Ida Rather Knott.

March 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm 2 comments

About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

Past Posts

March 2012

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