Why do we call it “combination lock”?

Variation lock seems more accurate by mathematical definitions

Edit(to give it more context)

  • Hey, can you tell me the combination of your lockbox ?

Why don’t we say variation(or permutation)? The order matters in this case and combination is an unordered set of numbers.


Because most people are not mathematicians.

I know that sounds like a flippant answer, but it’s genuinely the answer. There are many words which have a more precise (or even different) meaning for specialists, and the fact is that these words simply have both meanings. The question “Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?” is an all too familiar example: to a botanist, it’s a fruit; to most of us, it’s a vegetable.

So the fact that mathematicians use “combination” in a more restricted way is irrelevant to almost everybody who uses the locks.

Source : Link , Question Author : Dániel Flach , Answer Author : Colin Fine

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