# [plt-scheme] Why "lambda"?

Dave Herman wrote:
>>* Does anyone know if Church had anything in mind for lambda to stand
*>>* > for, or was it just an arbitrary choice?
*>*
*>* page 7:
*>* http://www-maths.swan.ac.uk/staff/jrh/papers/JRHHislamWeb.pdf
*>*
*>* page 182:
*>* http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.26.7908
*
From the second reference:
>* Church originally intended to use the notation xˆ .2x+1. The typesetter could
*>* not position the hat on top of the x
*
This I do not believe. A typesetter for a journal of mathematics in the
1930's could not typeset x^? (Heh, Thunderbird appears unable to. Let's
try again: ˆx.)
What I read somewhere (I cannot find it at this moment) was that the hat
was moved to before the x (as the first reference above confirms, to
distinguish function-abstraction from class-abstraction), but that it
was then made larger for visibility, using an upper-case lambda, which
looks like an upside-down V. But that looked too much like a capital A,
so they went with lower-case lambda. --PR