Mathematical Terms

Mathematics is seen as the universal language of science, filled with concepts ranging from basic counting to complex calculus. Understanding mathematical terms is key to grasping principles and solving problems effectively. This blog will help to clarify some essential mathematical terms.

Whether dealing with units like radians and degrees or exploring shapes like circles and polygons, having a solid grasp of these terms is vital. An illustrated dictionary or glossary can be a valuable tool in this learning process. This article aims to make these terms easier to understand and apply in various situations.

Definition of Mathematical Terms

What Are Mathematical Terms?

Mathematical terms are specific words and phrases that describe concepts, quantities, processes, and relationships in math. Examples include variablescoefficientstermsequations, and theorems.

  • A term in algebra could be a single number or variable, or a combination like (3xy).
  • An angle is formed by two rays with a common endpoint, called the vertex.

Each term has a precise definition which helps in clear and accurate communication.

Importance in Mathematics and Real-World Applications

Understanding these terms is key to solving problems efficiently. Terms like algorithm and angle bisector help follow and execute complex procedures correctly.

These terms are also essential in fields like engineering, computer science, and economics:

  • Algorithms are vital in programming.
  • Terms like radians and degrees are important in navigation and architecture.

Mastery of these terms improves problem-solving skills and the ability to communicate mathematical ideas effectively.

List of Mathematics Terms

Basic Arithmetic Terms

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Number
  • Integer
  • Fraction
  • Decimal
  • Percentage
  • Ratio
  • Proportion
  • Sum
  • Difference
  • Product
  • Quotient

Algebra Terms

  • Variable
  • Constant
  • Coefficient
  • Expression
  • Equation
  • Inequality
  • Polynomial
  • Monomial
  • Binomial
  • Trinomial
  • Factor
  • Term
  • Exponent
  • Base
  • Radical
  • Root
  • Square root
  • Cube root
  • Function
  • Domain
  • Range
  • Linear equation
  • Quadratic equation
  • System of equations
  • Matrix
  • Determinant

Geometry Terms

  • Point
  • Line
  • Line segment
  • Ray
  • Plane
  • Angle
  • Acute angle
  • Right angle
  • Obtuse angle
  • Straight angle
  • Reflex angle
  • Complementary angles
  • Supplementary angles
  • Parallel lines
  • Perpendicular lines
  • Triangle
  • Quadrilateral
  • Polygon
  • Circle
  • Radius
  • Diameter
  • Circumference
  • Area
  • Perimeter
  • Volume
  • Surface area
  • Vertex
  • Edge
  • Face
  • Congruent
  • Similar
  • Symmetry
  • Transformation
  • Translation
  • Rotation
  • Reflection
  • Scale factor

Trigonometry Terms

  • Sine
  • Cosine
  • Tangent
  • Cotangent
  • Secant
  • Cosecant
  • Hypotenuse
  • Opposite side
  • Adjacent side
  • Angle of elevation
  • Angle of depression
  • Unit circle
  • Trigonometric identities

Calculus Terms

  • Limit
  • Derivative
  • Integral
  • Differentiation
  • Integration
  • Rate of change
  • Slope
  • Tangent line
  • Area under a curve
  • Definite integral
  • Indefinite integral
  • Partial derivative
  • Chain rule
  • Product rule
  • Quotient rule

Statistics and Probability Terms

  • Mean
  • Median
  • Mode
  • Range
  • Variance
  • Standard deviation
  • Probability
  • Random variable
  • Distribution
  • Normal distribution
  • Binomial distribution
  • Poisson distribution
  • Hypothesis
  • Null hypothesis
  • Alternative hypothesis
  • P-value
  • Confidence interval
  • Correlation
  • Regression
  • Sample
  • Population

Set Theory Terms

  • Set
  • Element
  • Subset
  • Union
  • Intersection
  • Complement
  • Universal set
  • Empty set
  • Cardinality

Number Theory Terms

  • Prime number
  • Composite number
  • Divisor
  • Multiple
  • Greatest common divisor (GCD)
  • Least common multiple (LCM)
  • Factorial
  • Fibonacci sequence

Miscellaneous Terms

  • Algorithm
  • Approximation
  • Asymptote
  • Binomial theorem
  • Convergence
  • Divergence
  • Graph
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Logarithm
  • Matrix
  • Modulus
  • Permutation
  • Combination
  • Probability
  • Sequence
  • Series
  • Theorem
  • Vector

Key Mathematical Terms with Examples

Understanding key mathematical terms is essential for solving various problems. This section covers fundamental concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and more.


Addition is the process of combining two or more numbers to get a total sum. For example, ( 3 + 2 = 5 ). This operation is commutative, meaning the order of the addends does not affect the sum: ( 4 + 5 ) is the same as ( 5 + 4 ). Addition is typically taught using number lines or counters to visualize the process.


Subtraction involves taking one number away from another. For example, ( 7 – 3 = 4 ). It is not commutative—the order matters. Subtraction is often represented on a number line by moving left from the starting number. An important concept here is the minuend (the number from which another number is subtracted) and the subtrahend (the number that is subtracted).


Multiplication is the process of combining equal groups. If you have 3 groups of 4, the multiplication equation would be ( 3 \times 4 = 12 ). Like addition, multiplication is commutative; for example, ( 6 \times 7 ) equals ( 7 \times 6 ). This operation can also be visualized using arrays or repeated addition.


Division is splitting a number into equal parts. For example, ( 12 \div 4 = 3 ), meaning 12 divided by 4 equals 3. Division is not commutative; the order in which you divide matters. The number being divided is called the dividend, and the number you divide by is the divisor. The result is the quotient.


A fraction represents a part of a whole. It consists of a numerator (top number) and a denominator (bottom number). An example is ( \frac{3}{4} ), which means 3 out of 4 equal parts. Fractions can be proper (numerator less than denominator), improper (numerator greater than denominator), or a mixed number (a whole number and a fraction combined).


Decimals are a way of representing fractions using the base ten system. They use a decimal point to separate the whole number from the fractional part. For example, 0.75 represents 75 hundredths. You can also convert fractions to decimals and vice versa. Understanding place values (tenths, hundredths, thousandths) is crucial for working with decimals.


A percentage is a fraction of 100. It’s often used to compare proportions. For example, 50% means 50 out of 100, which is equivalent to ( \frac{1}{2} ) or 0.5. To convert a decimal to a percentage, multiply by 100 and add the percent symbol (%). For instance, 0.25 becomes 25%.


An equation is a mathematical statement that asserts the equality of two expressions. For example, ( 2x + 3 = 7 ). Solving the equation involves finding the value of the variable that makes the equation true. Basic techniques include simplifying both sides, isolating the variable, and balancing operations.


A variable is a symbol, usually a letter, that represents an unknown value in a mathematical expression or equation. For instance, in the equation ( x + 2 = 5 ), ( x ) is the variable. Variables allow the formulation of general mathematical laws and models. They are essential in algebra for creating formulas and solving problems.


An exponent indicates how many times a number, called the base, is multiplied by itself. For example, ( 2^3 = 2 \times 2 \times 2 = 8 ). The exponent is the small number written to the upper right of the base. Larger exponents indicate repeated multiplication, which is vital in scientific notation and exponential growth models.

Square Root

A square root of a number is a value that, when multiplied by itself, gives the original number. For example, the square root of 25 is 5, written as ( \sqrt{25} = 5 ), because ( 5 \times 5 = 25 ). Square roots can be estimated or found using a calculator and are important in geometry and algebra.

Pi (π)

Pi (π) is a constant representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximately equal to 3.14159. This irrational number is crucial in geometry, particularly in formulas involving circles, such as the area ( A = \pi r^2 ) and circumference ( C = 2\pi r ). Pi is used in various scientific and engineering calculations.


Understanding mathematical terms is essential for anyone looking to improve their mathematical literacy and problem-solving skills. These terms form the foundation of concepts and operations that are used not only in academic settings but also in real-world applications. From basic arithmetic to advanced calculus, each term has its own significance and utility.