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Thank you for your attempt to edit my post better, and I appreciate every edit you make. However please keep in mind that I intentionally use lagrangian, not Lagrangian.

I know that Lagrangian is widely accepted and if I write it differently, you will find something not right, and you have the itch to fix it. When you read the words, you are not spelling every character it has, but recognizing it as a whole gesture. By remember the whole gesture, your speed of reading will be enhanced, therefore your brain saves the energy for other task, such as truly understanding the text. That's why misspelling words are irritated because it interrupts your reading flows. Seeing it lowercased while you expecting it uppercased makes you feel the same.

However, I have my own rationale. Google is a company name, a proper noun, but google is a verb; Fermi is a person name, a proper noun, but fermion is a noun. I think writing lagrangian in lowercase is not wrong; In his book, Quantum Mechanics and Path Integral, Feynmann also wrote lagrangian in lowercase.

I'm not saying that you are absolutely wrong, nor I'm absolutely right. There is no wrong or right in languages, just majority and minority. Therefore I don't mind if seeing Lagrangian. However, please let me write it in the way I feel right. Thank you for your understanding and sorry if this makes any inconvenience.

I don't mind if you downvote this. I preset this line below so that every time I foresee that someone will uppercase lagrangian, hamiltonian, etc, all I need is just copy this line into my post.
<!-NOTE: I intentionally write "lagrangian" in lowercase. See http://meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/6257/41634->

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    $\begingroup$ Lol. Honestly, I don't think this is really important enough to have a discussion on. You can just roll-back any edits that violate your preferred capitalization convention on your own posts. $\endgroup$ – Danu Nov 3 '14 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ I think you'd better ask why it's written capitalized at English SE, so that you'd hopefully get satisfied with knowledge of the reasons, rather than insist on incorrect writing. BTW, in other languages these all words are written non-capitalized, e.g. in Russian $\endgroup$ – Ruslan Nov 4 '14 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruslan: the rule depends on the language you are talking to. For example, in Germany, all nouns are capitalized. This question on English.SE doesn't have any answer that really explain what should I do. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 4 '14 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, I didn't mean that in all other languages they are not capitalized, just gave you an example. $\endgroup$ – Ruslan Nov 4 '14 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Danu What, not important enough? Either one of the two is correct, so it is good to know which one is. $\endgroup$ – Bernhard Nov 5 '14 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Bernhard: While the accepted convention is the Lagrangian, it really isn't up to Physics.SE to decide what is the accepted version. Thus, this really isn't an important issue. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 5 '14 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Yeah, I found your Merriam-Webster reference quite convincing. Wonder where the downvotes come from. $\endgroup$ – Bernhard Nov 5 '14 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Bernhard: Very likely due to my being a bit of a jerk with the first half of my answer. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 5 '14 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos: it's not jerk, it's really funny $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 5 '14 at 16:09
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For starters, check this link for the Wikipedia entry on Lagrangian. Then press CTRL+F and type in lagrangian. Scroll through the page and count the number of times you see the lower-case version of the word. The hidden value below gives you the total number of times it's found, in case you were not interested in doing the experiment.

There are 0 (zero) instances of the lower-case version of the word "lagrangian"

Similar results are found here, here, here and so on. Note also that Merriam-Webster dictionary capitalizes it as well.


Anyways, if you feel that strongly about using the wrong case, you can always re-edit the question to make it the (incorrect) lower-case.

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  • $\begingroup$ In 2000, Lagrangian was used 27-fold than lagrangian :p $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 3 '14 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker: I'm not sure that the data you link helps your point any. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 4 '14 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ No, it doesn't. I just want to be acknowledged that I know that lagrangian is hardly to be found. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 4 '14 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker: Wouldn't that suggest to you that the reason that lagrangian is hardly found is because it's wrong? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 4 '14 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ No offense, but in the view point of linguistics, can you say what is wrong with lagrangian? Its ubiquitousness does not completely prove that it is right. Likewise, is atomic bomb a good name? $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 4 '14 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker: Linguistically, Lagrangian is an adjective formed from a proper noun (Lagrange) which is always capitalized (other examples include Fermi-Dirac statistics, Fermi energy, and Debye shielding). See also this English.SE post. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 4 '14 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ And, for good measure, The Handbook of Writing for Mathematical Sciences states Words that are derived from a person's name inherit the capitalization. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 4 '14 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ But why fermion, not Fermion? $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 4 '14 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ From Wiki: "The Lagrangian, L, of a dynamical system is a mathematical function". I don't think a function could possibly be an adjective. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 4 '14 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker well you'd have then to also rename Hamiltonian, Laplacian, d'Alembertian, Routhian and other *ians common in physics and mathematics. $\endgroup$ – Ruslan Nov 4 '14 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, indeed. OTOH, they still use Riemannian if you want an adjective. I guess this is more a historically settled convention. $\endgroup$ – Ruslan Nov 4 '14 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker I think Lagrangian is commonly understood to mean Lagrangian function, without explicitly expressing the second word out of laziness. This explains the confusion; I think Lagrangian should be understood as an adjective. $\endgroup$ – Danu Nov 4 '14 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ "Words that are derived from a person's name inherit the capitalization." Annoyingly SI units derived from peoples names do not automatically inherit the capital. It's kelvin, not Kelvin according to the committee. english.stackexchange.com/q/173906 $\endgroup$ – dmckee Nov 5 '14 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Ooker since a language is necessarily defined by how it is used and the people that use it, one could say that if a word is given permanent capitalization and it is agreed on by the vast majority of those that use the word, then regardless the grammatical reasonings, in that language it becomes correct to capitalize the word $\endgroup$ – Jim Nov 5 '14 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Jim: you are right. I just want to do the right thing. Maybe I am Don Quixote, or quixotic. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Nov 5 '14 at 17:28

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