Why are dbt models called "models"?

The mathematical definition of a model is a process that generates data.

Was this the thinking followed by dbt by using this term?

I couldn’t get Google to give me anything like “a process that generates data” as a definition for mathematical model, model mathematics etc.

Models were named before I started using dbt, but I imagine it came from the result of data modeling:

Data modeling is the process of analyzing and defining all the different data your business collects and produces, as well as the relationships between those bits of data

(from What is Data Modeling | Microsoft Power BI)