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I come via Latin from Greek,
Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

The scholars know me very well,
Without me, they may fail.

I provide a helping hand to all,
and found sometimes on flowers so small.

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,
But I always make my dependent finer.

who am I?
Note. I am not sure about word-play tag, but I think it should be there
Hint:

Everyone come across this thing in middle/high school or in college, but most of us ignores it wholeheartedly

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11 Answers 11

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I think the word you are looking for is

Lemma

I come via Latin from Greek, Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

The most common meaning of lemma as an intermediate theorem in a proof has Latin origin: lemma, from Greek lambanein, to take. See Lemma etymology

The scholars know me very well, Without me, they may fail.

Lemmas are important subsidiary results for larger mathematical theorems.

Also in lexicography a lemma is the canonical or dictionary form of a set of words.

For example:
run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, with run as the lemma. Lexeme, in this context, refers to the set of all the forms that have the same meaning, and lemma refers to the particular form that is chosen by convention to represent the lexeme. In lexicography, this unit is usually also the citation form or headword by which it is indexed.

I provide a helping hand to all, and found sometimes on flowers so small.

The flower clue - a second meaning of lemma is the lower of the two bracts that enclose each floret in a grass spikelet which has Greek origin Greek from lepein, to peel.

Floret

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor, But I always make my dependent finer

A lemma is a minor building block for a theorem - but can be very difficult : Fundamental lemma

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Going way out in left field...

Abacus previous answer that I don't remember

I come via Latin from Greek,

Greek root, latin evolved

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

Counting, small to large

The scholars know me very well, Without me, they may fail.

Abacus around for a long time.

I provide a helping hand to all, and found sometimes on flowers so small.

Manual/hand device. Possible reference to chrysanthemum stone, possibly Gypsophila, or baby's breath, whose name is derived from the fact that all the flowers in this family thrive on soil high in gypsum. Gypsum might have been a common material for the abacus! Wow, way tangential!

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor, But I always make my dependent finer

Early abacus' were made from stone, it's primitive (stepping), it will make a mathematician finer because of the way it makes you think.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ excellent explanation!+1 but, not the correct answer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 13 '16 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @smriti, took another stab at it. $\endgroup$ – John Jul 23 '16 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Another excellent explanation!! but not an answer. It is literary found on the flower, there is no wordplay around there $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 26 '16 at 10:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Damn! I cant upvote twice :( $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 26 '16 at 10:56
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Answer:

Dewey Decimal Classification

I come via Latin from Greek,

Decimal is from latin root

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

helps you find things

The scholars know me very well, Without me, they may fail.

used in libraries, without which it would be hard to find books

I provide a helping hand to all,

helps anyone who uses it, easy to use

and found sometimes on flowers so small.

dew is found on flowers in the mornings

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

stepping stone to actual knowledge, minor = decimal

But I always make my dependent finer.

The classification works by category/subcategory making the search results finer

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ nice explanation, +1, but not an answer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 15 '16 at 4:10
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My answer is:

Prime Numbers

I come via Latin from Greek,

My origins are from the Greeks, but the word "prime" is derived from Latin.

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

They increase without end.

The scholars know me very well,

Scholars study them constantly.

Without me, they may fail.

Without them many theorems would fail.

I provide a helping hand to all,

They are found and used in many applications.

and found sometimes on flowers so small.

Flowers frequently have a prime number of petals.

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

They cause all of the other integers to exist even though they are fewer in number.

But I always make my dependent finer.

All of the other integers are derived from primes causing all integers to be separated only by 1.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice explanation, +1, not an answer, but you mentioned a word in your explanation, which is very very VERY closely related to an actual answer :) $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 24 '16 at 7:50
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Answer:

A stem.

I come via Latin from Greek

Many words stem from Latin and Greek.

Scholars know me very well

Same as above

I provide a helping hand to all

A stem is defined as something that is supportive

Found sometimes on flowers so small

Obviously the stem of a flower

I am always a minor

The long part of minor music notes are called stems

But I always make my dependent finer

I think this is referring to the use of stems in language again

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  • $\begingroup$ nice explanation, but not an answer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 14 '16 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ a stem on written a note makes a minim into a crotchet, reducing its duration by half. - but I can't link stems to minor notes exclusively. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jul 23 '16 at 23:38
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My answer is :

Fibonacci Sequence

I come via Latin from Greek

Inspired by Greek's "Golden Ratio" but developed by Italian Fibonacci

Step in the direction of something big

The sequence is infinite

The scholars know me very well,

Primary mathematic principle

Without me, they may fail.

Principle used by mathematicians

I provide a helping hand to all,

Used from beginner to advanced maths

found sometimes on flowers so small.

Fibonacci Sequence can be seen in flowers

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

Basic principle taught in maths

But I always make my dependent finer.

Improve math abilities

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice Explanation, +1, but not an answer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 24 '16 at 7:51
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My answer:

Beta

I come via Latin from Greek,

The letter Beta comes from the Greek alphabet and is also found in the latin alphabet

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

Could be a step in the direction of something big because of the importance of letters for civilization. Or a step towards something big because Beta is also number 2, so the first step to bigger numbers.

The scholars know me very well, Without me, they may fail.

Beta is used in maths and economics, without knowledge of this students will fail their tests.

I provide a helping hand to all,

Not sure about this one.

and found sometimes on flowers so small.

Beta looks like B, which sounds like Bee, which is found on flowers.

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor, But I always make my dependent finer.

In equations there are often multiple betas, but they all help to explain the dependent variable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice explanation, but not an answer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 24 '16 at 7:50
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the answer is

pi or pythagoras theorem

i come from latin via greek

both are originated from the greek culture and travelled to all over the world

Step in the direction of something big

pythagoras theorem and value of pi origin is for human civilization development.

The scholars know me very well,

all students of university or colleges knows very well about them

Without me, they may fail.

if we do not know the value of pi or does not calulate the right hypotneus we may fail in our exam

I provide a helping hand to all,

they provide to the correct accuracy to lauch the space shuttle

found sometimes on flowers so small.

it related to golden ratio i think so

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

we do not know how much they gave to human civilization

But I always make my dependent finer.

but their contribution is always finer

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  • $\begingroup$ Not an answer but, you are little closer... $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 13 '16 at 4:12
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My answer is:

A letter

I come from Latin via Greek

A lot of Latin letters came from Greek.

Step in the direction of something big so to speak

Letters are a sign of recognition and can help you with your life such as job opportunities and awards.

The scholars know me very well

Scholars receive a letter of recommendation from schools in exchange for free/discounted tuition and other perks.

Without me they fail

Scholars should be able to read, write and speak letters in order to actually pass their classes.

I provide a helping hand to all

Letters help us read and write out our statements.

Found sometimes on flowers so small

Letters are found on the 6 letter flower "clover"

Though stepping stone, I'm always a minor.

Letters are the minor courses associated with some major courses, such as Arts and Sciences. Letters are used in all the subjects as a way of reading and writing.

But I always make my dependent finer

Letters are a symbol of recognition to the dependent, thus making them better. They are also forms of invitation to a special event or gathering

And as for the Note...

You were probably confused that it shouldn't be in the word play tag because, technically, Letters A-Z aren't words, but letter is a word.

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  • $\begingroup$ very nice explanation, but not what I am looking for, +1 though $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 22 '16 at 4:16
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My answer is:

Hypothesis

I come via Latin from Greek,

My origins are from the Greeks, but the word "hypothesis" is derived from Latin.

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

A step in the direction to a general theory.

The scholars know me very well,

Scholars have been proposing them extremely frequently for millennia.

Without me, they may fail.

If you don't propose one, you may go off on a tangent in your pursuit of knowledge.

I provide a helping hand to all,

A hypothesis helps anyone in the search for truth.

and found sometimes on flowers so small.

There are many hypotheses about flowers, especially flower growth (Fibonacci/Primes).

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

Each hypothesis is a small step toward the ultimate prize of a general theory.

But I always make my dependent finer.

Over time, all of the hypotheses will eventually yield a theory.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not an answer, but you are closer $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 25 '16 at 6:09
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My answer is:

Evolution

Explanation:

I come via Latin from Greek,

The word has its origins in Latin.

Step in the direction of something big, so to speak.

Evolution results in organisms better adapted to survive

The scholars know me very well,

Without me, they may fail.

Scholars study it.

I provide a helping hand to all,

Evolution results in offspring better suited to survive, thus helping the species.

and found sometimes on flowers so small.

Even flowers show evolutionary traits.

Though stepping stone, I am always a minor,

Over time, evolution can result in big changes, but it is a small change at a time and is slow.

But I always make my dependent finer.

Again, the offspring (dependants) are better suited to survive.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not what I am looking for $\endgroup$ – smriti Jul 24 '16 at 7:52

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