"Factorialize a Number"...really?

I’ve heard “find the factorial of”, “take the factorial of”, and “return the factorial of” used to describe what the code in this exercise is supposed to be doing, but never “factorialize”. It’s not in any dictionary I have. It is listed on Wiktionary, but not with the meaning implied here. (It’s a term used in statistics, where “factor” has a different meaning than it does in arithmetic.)

URL: https://www.freecodecamp.org/learn/javascript-algorithms-and-data-structures/basic-algorithm-scripting/factorialize-a-number

There is no one defining dictionary in English. It’s not like French or Spanish where there are governing bodies to decide what words are allowed and what words aren’t. That being said, I am fairly pedantic about language and don’t like bad usage. But in this case, I think it is an online lesson, on a site where we build cat photo apps and tribute pages to nachos (or whatever) … I think some “colorful” use of language is OK.

Even so, there are many examples of this usage. Yes, some of them relate to “find the factors”, but there seems to be some ambiguity. But that happens programming sometimes, in naming things. What does “getAverage” do? We assume it is the arithmetic mean, but it could be mode or even geometric mean, as well as a dozen other possibilities.

Yes, if I were writing a mathematics module, I probably would choose a clearer name. In the context of this lesson, I’m fine with it as it is.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.

Okay. Your site. Notice that most of the hits in your web search are directly or indirectly connected to this challenge at freeCodeCamp, though.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed some of the other titles, but they tend to be a bit whimsical. I think a minor abuse of technical nomenclature to make a silly title isn’t really a big deal. The challenge content uses correct nomenclature.

Yean, many are. Some aren’t. And as Jeremy points out, it’s just having a little fun, this isn’t a doctoral thesis in mathematics.

And as an English speaker, to be honest, if I hear “factorialize”, I assume that it means to turn into a “factorial”. I’m not sure why I would assume it means “factor analysis”. In English, the suffix “-ize” usually means to turn into or to make resemble or conform to. “Alphabetize” makes it conform to the alphabet. “Idolize” means to turn into an “idol”. So, “factorial” should be to turn into a “factorial”.

But whatever, most languages (especially English) are not always logical. Words mean what they mean because people use it that way. And people are using it that way. Is it a made up word? Sure, but all words are made up.

I only really see two entries with the other definition, both of which seem to be copies of each other and cite no sources.

Here is the word “factorialize” meaning “to get the factorial of” from 2008, and here is one from 2011. FCC was founded in late 2014. Quincy is an accomplished man, but I don’t think he’s mastered time travel, so I don’t think we should assume that FCC invented this usage.

It’s just having a little fun with the language.

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