Mount Everest was given its English name by Andrew Waugh, the British surveyor-general of India in 1865. He named it after his respected chief and predecessor, Colonel Sir George Everest. The modern pronunciation (EV-er-est) is in fact different from how Sir George pronounced his own name (EAVE-rest) and thus it began.
Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal was the first to identify Everest as the world's highest peak in 1852, using trigonometric calculations from 240 km away in India. As both Nepal and Tibet were closed to travel that was as close as he could get. "Peak XV" as it was known then was found to be exactly 29,000 feet (8,839 m) high. To avoid the impression that this exact number was nothing more than a "rounded estimate" an arbitrary addition of 2 ft (0.6m) was added to give the "publicly declared" height of 29,002 ft.
This was only the beginning of the questionable "definitive height" of Everest. The generally accepted (1955) height is 8,848 m (29,028) ft. A more recent (May 22, 2005), expedition by a Peoples Republic of China expedition team who ascended to the top of Everest and after several months measurements and some complicated calculations they announced (October 9, 2005) the official height of Mount Everest to be 8,844 m (+/- 0.21 m) or 29,017.16 (+/- 0.69) feet.
This measurement was taken from the actual "highest point of rock" and did not include the snow and ice that sits on top of that rock. The Chinese team also measured that snow and ice cover on the rock to be 3.5 m which implies agreement with the "accepted height" and the inclusion of the ice and snow caps the generally accepted method of measurement. In reality the snow and ice cap fluctuates in depth and so the actual height of Mount Everest is exactly.....