Many important spatial patterns of Nature are either irregular or fragmented to such an extreme degree that ... classical geometry ... is hardly of any help in describing their form. ... I hope to show that it is possible in many cases to remedy this absence of geometric representation by using a family of shapes I propose to call fractals — or fractal sets. [Mandelbrot, "Fractals," 1977]

(Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/fractal#etymonline_v_11854 )

I'd like to know whether "propose" means "suggest" or whether it means "intend".

  • Yes, it does. See any dictionary.
    – randomhead
    Jul 16 at 1:16
  • 1
    @randomhead: I'm not the asker, but I think the fact that they put forward two synonyms implies that they already went to a dictionary, and are asking which sense applies. (In fact they've just now edited the question to clarify that.) Jul 16 at 2:03

It’s kind of both, but I had never really thought of that until I read your question!

My first interpretation was “suggest”. The author is introducing a new term that he suggests to the audience. He hopes the audience will accept it and use it for future discussions.

But “intend” is also suitable! This is a less common sense of the word “propose”, which I think is why my mind went to “suggest” first. But the author is introducing a new term that he intends to use, at least for the duration of his paper.


Yes. It means something between "suggest" and "intend":

AHD propose

  1. To put forward for consideration, discussion, or adoption; suggest: propose a change in the law.

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