Please, tell me the meaning of the "just". I looked up in dictionary, there are many definitions and I can't choose the proper meaning. The text is:

To start the last section of this chapter, I want you to gaze upon the following mathematical expression and honestly ask yourself if you think it's possible for someone to have just made it up.

  • This is apparently from Dr Euler's Fabulous Formula Cures Many Mathematical Ills, Paul Nahin, Princeton University Press 2006, and it is referring to Dirichlet's Discontinuous Integral. Nahin continues to say it's too bizarre to have been made up, it must have been discovered.
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 17:57
  • 1
    In closely-related contexts, just could imply very recently, but in your specific context it probably means only, merely, simply. Making things up ("inventing" facts) is much simpler than actually working out the truth of the matter). Note that gaze upon is unusually "poetic" phrasing in the context of something like a mathematical expression - better to use more everyday phrasing such as [take a] look at. Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Just X here is the same as saying "done nothing but X".

... for someone to have done nothing but make it up.

Overall, the speaker/writer is asking if it's possible that someone didn't really do any work toward creating that expression, but rather tried to "fake it" and make it up moments before writing the expression down.

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