El Camino Bignum: /el' K*-mee'noh Big'nuhm/ N. The Road Mundanely Called El Camino Real

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:El Camino Bignum: /el' k*-mee'noh big'nuhm/ n. The road
mundanely called El Camino Real, a road through the San Francisco
peninsula that originally extended all the way down to Mexico City
and many portions of which are still intact. Navigation on the San
Francisco peninsula is usually done relative to El Camino Real,
which defines {logical} north and south even though it isn't
really north-south many places. El Camino Real runs right past
Stanford University and so is familiar to hackers.

The Spanish word `real' (which has two syllables: /ray-ol'/)
means `royal'; El Camino Real is `the royal road'. In the FORTRAN
language, a `real' quantity is a number typically precise to seven
significant digits, and a `double precision' quantity is a larger
floating-point number, precise to perhaps fourteen significant
digits (other languages have similar `real' types).

When a hacker from MIT visited Stanford in 1976, he remarked what a
long road El Camino Real was. Making a pun on `real', he started
calling it `El Camino Double Precision' --- but when the hacker
was told that the road was hundreds of miles long, he renamed it
`El Camino Bignum', and that name has stuck. (See {bignum}.)
-- The AI Hackers Dictionary