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It occurred to me that there is no question on here about the name "normal distribution" yet.

There is this question, about whether to call it normal or Gaussian, but it does not address why it is called normal in the first place.

The normal distribution is not a typical/ordinary/expected result of many processes, so why is it called normal?

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    $\begingroup$ Even though it isn't, in many cases people in quite a few application areas think it is. Consider some of the comments (and threads moved to chat) $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Oct 9 '19 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ Galton was one of two people to first apply the term in this context and he's largely responsible for it entering the lexicon. His writings would be a good place to start. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Oct 9 '19 at 3:44
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    $\begingroup$ The Wikipedia article on the "normal distribution" has a section on how the name came to be attached. The Encyclopedia of Mathematics article on the "normal distribution" also addresses the question and attributes the terminology to Karl Pearson. $\endgroup$ – Gordon Smyth Oct 9 '19 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ For other tidbits, see jeff560.tripod.com/n.html (and search for Galton to find the part on the normal distribution) $\endgroup$ – Glen_b Oct 9 '19 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the useful links @Glen_b! If you are willing to summarize them into an answer I will accept it. $\endgroup$ – Frans Rodenburg Oct 9 '19 at 12:59

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