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In Latin, "quantum" is the neuter form of quantus, meaning "how much? Both of these forms played a role in the development of "quantal." The first sense of "quantal," used in scientific experimentation to refer to cases in which only one of two possible results occurs, derived from "quanti," the plural of "quantus." ("Quantus" is also an ancestor of our noun "quantity.") The second sense of "quantal" is more directly related to Latin quantum and the English noun "quantum," which refers to the smallest possible unit of a form of energy (such as light).
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