Math Glossary


absolute value – The absolute value of a number is the number of units that it is from zero on the number line.

additive identity – The number 0 is the additive identity since the sum of any number and 0 is equal to the number.

associative property of multiplication – For any numbers a, b, and c, (ab)c = a(bc).


coefficient – The numerical part of a term.

commutative property of addition – For any numbers a and b, a + b = b + a.

complementary angles – Two angles are complementary if the sum of their measures is 90o.

completing the square – Completing the square is a method of solving a quadratic equation where a perfect square trinomial is formed on one side of the equation.

composite number – Any positive integer, except 1, that is not prime.

consecutive even integers – Numbers given when beginning with an even integer and counting by two’s.

corresponding angles – In similar triangles, the measures of corresponding angles are equal.


degree – The degree of a monomial is the sum of the exponents of its variables. The degree of a nonzero constant is 0. The degree of a polynomial is the greatest of the degrees of its terms.

direct variation – A direct variation is described by an equation of the form y = kx, where k is not zero.

discriminant – In the quadratic formula, the expression b2 – 4ac is called the discriminant.

distributive property – For any numbers a, b, and c:
1. a(b + c) = ab + ac and
(b + c)a = ba + ca.
2. a(b – c) = ab – ac and
(b – c)a = ba – ca.


exponent – A number used to tell how many times a number is used as a factor. In an expression of the form xn, the exponent is n.


FOIL method for multiplying binomials – To multiply two binomials, find the sum of the products of
F – the first terms,
O – the outer terms,
I – the inner terms, and
L – the last terms.

functional notation – The functional notation of the equation y = x + 5 is f(x) = x + 5.


greatest common factor (GCF) – The GCF of two or more integers is the greatest factor that is common to each of the integers.


hypotenuse – The side opposite the right angle in a right triangle.


inequality – Any sentence containing <, >, < , > .

inverse variation – An inverse variation is described by an equation of the for xy = k, where k is not zero.


least common multiple (LCM) – The LCM of two or more integers is the least positive integer that is divisible by each of the integers.

legs – The adjacent sides of the right angle of a right triangle.


median – The median is the middle number of a set of data when the numbers are arranged in numerical order.

midpoint – The midpoint of a line segment is the point that is halfway between the endpoints of the segment.


negative number – A number that is graphed on the negative side of the number line.

number line – A line with equal distances marked off to represent numbers.

numerical coefficient – The numerical part of a term.


Order of operations
1. Simplify the expressions inside group symbols.
2. Evaluate all powers.
3. Then do all multiplications and divisions from left to right.
4. Then do all additions and subtractions from left to right.


parallel lines – Lines that have the same slope are parallel. All vertical lines are parallel.

perpendicular lines – Two lines are perpendicular if the product of their slopes is -1. In a plane, vertical lines are perpendicular to horizontal lines.

prime factorization – The expression of a composite number as the product of its prime factors.

Pythagorean Theorem – In a right triangle, if a and b are the measures of the legs, and c is the measure of the hypotenuse, then c2 = a2 + b2.


quadratic formula – The solutions of a quadratic equation of the form ax2 + bx + c, where a = 0, are given.


ratio – A comparison of two numbers by division.

rationalizing the denominator – Rationalizing the denominator is a method used to eliminate radicals from the denominator of a fraction.

root of an equation – A solution of the equation.


scientific notation – A number is expressed in scientific notation when it is in the form a x 10n, where 1 < a < 10 and n is an integer.

similar triangles – If two triangles are similar, the measures of their corresponding angles are equal and the measures of their corresponding sides are proportional.

slope – The slope of a line is the ratio of the change in y to the corresponding change in x.

slope-intercept form – The slope-intercept form of the equation of a line is y = mx + b. The slope of the line is m, and the y – intercept is b.

squaring – Squaring a number means using that number as a factor two times.

substitution property of equality – For any numbers a and b, if a = b then a may be replaced by b.

supplementary angles – Two angles are supplementary if the sum of their measures is 180o.

system of inequalities – A set of inequalities with the same variables.


trinomial – A polynomial having exactly three terms.


variable – In a mathematical sentence, a variable is a symbol used to represent an unspecified number.


y-intercept – The value of y when x is 0.

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