In math, the aliquant part of a number makes for a messy division.
The aliquot part will keep division tidy and round.
Confusion hazard aside, seeing the balance and grace of these two together is a bit like ballet on a page. Maybe there’s a lovely metaphor to be made with their definitions but I’m just here for the toe-dancing.
Emerging as an adjective in 1570, aliquot also verbed around 1873 to mean “measure or divide into samples of equal size”.
I rate aliquot’s verb transference potential to the sharing of food as pretty high.
Both have been used as nouns:
- in math: aliquot meant “an exact divisor”, aliquant – short for the aliquant part.
- in biology and medicine: aliquot as noun has been with us since 1910 meaning “each of two or more, generally identical, samples”.
aliquant, from 1951 refers more specifically to “a proportionate sample where the sampling process leaves some substance for Ron“. Clearly it fell very close to the adjectival math tree.
perhaps via French aliquante (1653)
< Latin aliquantus (a certain [quantity or amount of])
< alias (some or other) + quantus (how great, how much)
perhaps via French aliquote [adjective (1487) noun (1762)]
< post classical Latin aliquotus (forming an integral factor)
< classical Latin aliquota pars from aliquot (some, several)
< alias (some or other) + quot (how many).
Pars, of course, meaning part.
Ps. As with most of the words in the found words blog collection, aliquant and aliquot will make great starting points for interesting feline names.
Sources: OED Online, Chambers’s English Dictionary, IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language