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Math Definitions

So you need a quick review on basic math operations of definitions. As is tradition, we shall start by defining several words and what they mean when you are working with math problems.


Addition The total amount of two or more numbers.
The answer of adding numbers is the sum.
Example: 1+2 = 3; 3 is the sum of the addition of 1 and 2.
Algebra A branch of math using letters to represent numbers.
Example: x + 7 = 15. (Solve for x; x = 8)
Arithmetic The use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to find an answer.
Example: 4+12=16; 12-4=8; 12/4=3; 2*8=16
A curved line with every point equal distance from the center.
Example: Circle  
Composite Number Any whole number that can be divided by another number evenly except by itself and 1
Examples: 21 (21/7=3), 24 (24/4=6), 9 (9/3=3), 10 (10/2 = 5)
Congruent Equal angles.
Example: 45 degrees and 45 degrees.
Coordinate Axis Two perpendicular lines forming four quadrants.
Counting Number Same as "Natural Number."
Denominator The bottom number in a fraction
Example:3/4, 4 is the denominator.
Difference The amount numbers differ from each other.
Example: 10-7=3 the difference of 10 and 7 is 3
Directrix A fixed line associated with a parabola .
Dividend The number being divided.
Example: 15 ÷3=5; 15 is the dividend.
Division The discovery to find out how many times a number is contained in another number.
Example: 15 ÷3=5; 3 is in 15 five times.
Divisor The number to divide with.
Example: 15÷3=5; 3 is the divisor.
e The number used as the base for natural logarithms. e = 2.71828183
Ellipse A curved line with the sum of the distances from imaginary points (foci) to each point on the curve is constant
Exponent A small figure placed to the upper-right of a number showing the number of times to multiply that number by itself.
Example: 3² (3x3=), 2³ (2x2x2 = 8)
Focus An imaginary point seen in parabolas, hyperbolas, and ellipses. Plural: foci.
Fraction A representation of division and another way of showing decimals.
Examples: 3/4 means 3 divided by 4, which is .75. Also, 1 ½ is the same as 1.5.
Geometry The branch of mathematics that deals with points, lines, planes and figures.
Hexagon A six-sided polygon.
Hyperbola A curved line with the difference of the distances from imaginary points (foci) to each point on the curve is constant.
Imaginary Number An even root of a negative number; square root of -1 is denoted as 'i.'
The square root of -4 cannot be -2 because (-2*-2 = 4, not -4).
Examples: i, 5i, etc.
Improper Fraction A fraction that has its numerator of the larger than the denominator.
Example: 25/12, 3/2, etc.
Inequality An equation written with a greater than, a less than sign, or a not equal to sign. Basically, an equation without an equals sign.
Examples: 7 + x > 10; 1 + 2 < x.
Integer Any positive or negative whole number and zero.
Example: -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3,...
Line An infinite path connecting an infinite number of points. A linear line is perfectly straight (diagonal/verticle/horizontal.)
Logarithm (Log) The power to which a number is raised - the exponent.
Mixed Number A whole number and a fraction.
Example: 3½
Multiplication The repeated addition of a number.
Example: 4x4 = (4+4+4+4) = 16.
Natural Log Logarithm with base e
Example: ln 5
Natural Number Any positive, whole number.
Example: 1, 2, 3, 4,...
Numerator The top number in a fraction.
Example: 4/5; 4 is the numerator.
Octagon An eight-sided polygon.
Parabola Set of points equal distance from a focus and a directrix.
Parallel Two (or more) lines that will never intersect. (Lines with the same slope.)
Examples: Y = 3/4x + 2 and Y = 3/4x + 5 are parallel lines.
Pentagon A five-sided polygon.
Percent A number out of 100. The percent can be greater than 100.
Example: 50%, 75%.
Perpendicular Lines that intersect at right angles (90 degrees.)
Pi The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle (3.1415926...)
Plane Geometry The branch of geometry using only two-dimensional figures.
Point A location with no dimensions, shape, or size.
Polygon A closed figure with at least four sides and four angles.
Prime Number Any integer that cannot be divided by another number evenly except by itself and 1.
Examples: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13,...
Product The result of multiplying two or more numbers together.
Example: 4x4=16; 16 is the product.
Pyramid A shape with a polygonal base and triangular sides meeting at a common point (vertex.)
Quadrant One quarter (1/4) of a coordinate plane axis.
Quadrilateral A four-sided polygon.
Quotient The answer of one number divided by another.
Example: 33÷3 = 11; 11 is the quotient.
Radical A root sign.
Ray A line having one endpoint, where the other endpoint continues to infinity.
Real Number Any number that is not imaginary.
Rectangle A quadrilateral with four right angles.
Regular Polygon A polygon with all sides equal and all interior angles congruent
Rhombus A quadrilateral with equal sides.
Right Angle A 90 degree angle.
Segment A piece of a line with two endpoints.
Solid Geometry The branch of geometry using 3D objects and figures.
Space The 3D continuous expanse and of the matter contained within; volume.
Square A rectangle with all four sides equal.
Square Root The number that when multiplied by itself will produce a given number (the square.)
Example: square root of 4 = 2 because 2x2 = 4.
Subtraction Getting the difference between two numbers.
Sum The answer from adding numbers
Example: 2+4=6; 6 is the sum.
Transversal A line that intersects at least two other lines.
Trapezoid A quadrilateral with only two sides parallel.
Vertex A corner point of a geometric figure formed by lines, planes, or both.
Vertical Angle Equal angles formed by the intersection of two or more lines.
Whole Number Any positive integer, some definitions include 0.
Example: 1, 2, 3, 4,...234, 235, etc.

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