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When we talk about: $$\lim_{x\to{c}}f(x)=L$$ Is there a formal name for the number "$c$"?
I know of course that it means "$L$ is the limit of $f(x)$ as $x$ approaches $c$". It just would be nice to be able to refer to "$c$" separately without saying "what $x$ approaches". I tried to look at various textbooks but didn't find anything.

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    $\begingroup$ I am not aware of a standard terminology. $\endgroup$ – Steven Gubkin Feb 5 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ Just for fun: The "approachand," pronounced ah-proach-and, analogous to "operand." $\endgroup$ – Joseph O'Rourke Feb 6 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ I generally refer to it as "the limiting value of $x$". It is a little clunky, and probably not any better than "the thing which $x$ approaches", but works. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 6 at 2:21
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe "approach value" for $c$ and "limit value" for $L$? $\endgroup$ – Dave L Renfro Feb 6 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe, we could refer to $c$ as the limit point because, in the definition of limit, $c$ has to be a limit point of the domain. This expression would be good because, according to the general definition, a limit point of the domain is a point that (i) can be approximated by elements of the domain and (ii) need not be in the domain (which are the two properties of $c$ that have to be highlighted for the students). $\endgroup$ – Pedro Feb 26 at 14:54
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I vote for Pedro. We should call the point at which the limit is taken the limit point. In contrast, the value obtained by the limit (if it exists) is the limit's value. In particular, $$ \lim_{x \rightarrow c} f(x) = L $$ has limit point $c$ and the value of the limit is $L$. This terminology keeps with the usual usage of the term value for outputs of the function. In addition, while the term limit point does have a more abstract topological definition, I don't think there is much danger of confusion.

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  • $\begingroup$ "The limit point of the limit"? $\endgroup$ – Peter Saveliev May 29 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yep. The limit point of the limiting operation. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook May 29 at 15:33

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