The Comprehensive Mathematics Terms Dictionary

Meta: Are the complicated mathematics terms giving you a headache? Don’t worry! One glance at our dictionary and understanding those words will be a piece of cake!


Mathematics, which is as old as humanity, is similar to every one of us. We can see math exists in every aspect of our daily life, from managing our money and bargaining for the best price when shopping to predicting the weather or constructing buildings. 

Due to its importance, people have come up with many mathematics terms to apply conveniently. However, these terms can be difficult to comprehend if you have just seen them for the first time. 

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In that case, we are here to help you. Below is a list of mathematics terms with detailed meaning to clarify things. Keep reading to learn!

Glossary And Definition Of Mathematics Terms


Amplitude refers to the longest distance from a thing to its equilibrium point when moving in a cyclic pattern or vibrating. Compared to the vibrant path, the amplitude is half of its length.


The geometric area is the space that a flat shape or a thing’s surface covers. It is measured in square units like square centimeters, square inches, square kilometers, and square miles. 


Angle is the space restricted by two intersecting lines or surfaces and the point where they meet. This term is measured in degrees. Normally, there are three types of angles: acute angle (less than 90 degrees), right angle (90 degrees), and obtuse angle (between 90 degrees and 180 degrees).

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This definition is common in math and computer science. It is a process or a set of instructions to solve a problem, especially calculating and processing data. 


It is a line that curves and approaches but never touches. As the line extends, it moves toward infinity. Asymptote is often seen in analytic geometry, including three types: vertical, horizontal, and oblique.


When you add more than two numbers and then divide them by their count, the result you get is average. For example, the average of 2, 6, 7, 8, and 12 is 35 divided by 5, which is 7


Apothem indicates a line connecting the center of a polygon with one of its sides. This line is at a 90-degree angle with the side it connects.


A line splitting a symmetrical shape into two identical parts is an axis. This word also refers to the straight line that a thing or a body rotates around. For instance, the Earth rotates around the axis connecting the South and North Poles.

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If a straight line connects two ends of an arch, it is a chord, which can be seen as a curved line in a circle.


The circumference is the line that encloses a curved shape’s outline, especially a circle. In mathematics, it refers to the length of this line. 


As an adjective, the word “constant” represents a value that doesn’t change concerning other values. As a noun, a constant is a well-defined number or a letter to stand for a non-changing number. For instance, the equation x-5=10 has two constants: 5 and 10.


The number or the constant quantity that is placed before a variable to multiply it in an algebraic expression is a coefficient. If a variable has no number before it, its coefficient is 1.


We can explain data as a collection of numbers, facts, or characteristics from experiments and observations. There are two types of data: qualitative data (describing things) and quantitative data (in the form of numerical information).


A diameter is a straight line that passes through the center point of a circle and has two endpoints on the circumference. The diameter is equal to twice the length of the radius.

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Descriptive Geometry

As a branch of mathematics, descriptive geometry is where three-dimensional objects are represented under the form of two-dimensional shapes by using a specific set of procedures. This technique is often applied in architecture, design, engineering, and art. 

Differential Equation

A differential equation includes at least one function and its derivative. This equation’s usage scope is very wide, describing the population’s fluctuation, heat movements, spring vibrations, and many phenomena in our world.


In math, people define an ellipse as a closed conic section formed by all the points moving in a plane whose distances to two fixed foci points add up to a constant. An ellipse has two axes: a major axis (a) and a minor axis (b). From here, we have the formula to calculate the area of this shape: πab/4.

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Empty Set

An empty set (or a null set) has no elements. Thus, the size of this set (the count of its elements) is zero.

Expected Value

The expected value is the weighted average level of a random variable based on its respective theoretical probabilities.


Extrapolating is predicting a value by extending a sequence of values or facts to an unknown situation by continuing to apply an existing method to that area.


Factors, regarding math, indicate the numbers or algebraic expressions that divide another number without a remainder. For instance, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 24 are the factors of 24. 


The definition of formulas is simple: a mathematical rule or fact represented with symbols and letters. It connects two or more equal quantities so that if you know one quantity, you can use the formula to get the value of the other quantities. For example, the area of an eclipse= πab/4 with a and b is the major and minor axis, respectively.


When it comes to fractions, we have a quantity that is not a whole number. It has two parts with a small horizontal line in between. The part on the top is called the numerator, indicating the number of the equal parts of the whole are taken. The other one under the line is the denominator, showing the whole.

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Frequency describes the number of times a repeating event occurs in a period under the same condition. The measurement unit is hertz (Hz), which is one event a second. An “A” note on the violin string has a frequency of 440 Hz, which means it makes 440 vibrations per second. 


Any expression, rule, or law that shows the relation between an input and an output is called a function. In a function, one input will be related to only one output. For example, f(x)=x+1 is a function, with each value of x we will get one value of f(x).


Like descriptive geometry, this is another branch of math related to points, lines, distances, shapes, sizes, and position figures. A person who specializes in geometry is called a geometer.


A graph is a diagram representing the relationship between two (or more) variables. There are two axes in a graph at a 90-degree angle to measure the two variable quantities.


To describe the frequency distributions, a histogram comes in use. It includes rectangles whose areas are proportional to the frequency of a variable.

Due to the similar appearance, people often mistake a histogram for a bar chart. However, histograms are for displaying frequency distribution, while bar charts are used to compare categorical variables.


Akin to the shape of a honeycomb or the pattern on a football surface, a hexagon consists of 6 sides and 6 angles. All the interior angles inside a regular hexagon measure 120 degrees.


A hyperbola is a smooth curved line in a plane defined by its solution sets. It often has two branches that are identical to each other, resembling two infinite bows. When putting a hyperbola in a diagram, there are two axes of symmetry and two asymptotes to show the direction the two branches extend.

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Imaginary Number

You get an imaginary number when multiplying a real number with the imaginary unit i ( i2 = −1). For example, 4is an imaginary number whose square is -16. Zero is considered to be both a real number and an imaginary number

Improper Fraction

This is a fraction where the denominator is smaller than the numerator, such as 9/8.


An index is a small number placed after a number or a letter to indicate the number of times that quantity has been multiplied by itself. For example, in 2^4, 4 is the index of 2, showing that 2^4 is equal to 2 multiplied by itself four times. 

If a number’s index is 0, the result will be one no regardless of the value of that number or letter.


An integer number is a whole number, unlike a fraction. Integer numbers include positive, negative numbers, and zero. The set of integers is called Z, in which the integers follow the order like: -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3. Some commonly seen letters standing for integers in math equations are p, q, r, and s.


In math, infinity describes something limitless. It is denoted by the symbol ∞. There is negative infinity which is less than any real number, and positive infinity, greater than any real number. 


The intersection is one or more common points to two or more geometrical figures. There are also intersections of sets, which refers to the elements that set A and set B have. 

For example, if set A consists of 1, 2, 3, 5 and set B consists of 1,2, 6,9,10, then their intersection will consist of 1 and 2.


Log or logarithm is the exponent to which the base (another number) needs to be raised to produce a given number.

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There are two types of lines in geometry: straight lines and curved lines. A line has no width, forming with a limitless number of points in both directions. The formula for a straight line is ax+b=0.


Multiple is the act of multiplying a random number by an integer.

Natural Number

As a part of the real number, natural numbers are integers that start from 1. The first five natural numbers are 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.


An octagon has eight sides and eight angles. All of the interior angles of an octagon measure 135 degrees. 

Odd Number

Odd numbers can’t produce a whole number when divided by two.


When you carry out an experiment, an outcome is a possible result. One experiment can have many outcomes. For example, rolling a dice will have six possible outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Once two or more lines, planes, or surfaces are side by side and maintain the same distance along their length, they are parallel. Parallel geometrical figures never touch or intersect.


If two lines are perpendicular, they intersect and form a 90 degrees angle.


We call a number quadruple in case it is multiplied by four.


Radius, which is half the length of the diameter, is a line segment that connects a circle’s center point and its boundary.


The ratio shows how much quantity is when compared to another.


A square is a shape with four equal sides and four interior right angles.


When all the elements of a set are contained in another set, it is a subset. 

Universal Set

A universal set is one that comprises all the elements of its subsets without repeating any elements. 


A letter standing for an unknown value is called a variable in an equation.


A vector is a line segment that has its length as the magnitude and its arrow to show the direction.

The Importance Of Mathematics Terms

Mathematical terms are very important, especially when it comes to teaching. Since Math exists around us in every little corner, there are a lot of definitions and concepts that we need to learn about. It would be really time-consuming if we keep using detailed definitions every time a mathematical problem is mentioned. 

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Plus, the appearance of these terms also brings convenience to writing, organizing, and solving problems. Memorize what the terms mean for once, and math terms will assist you in many situations


Encountering new mathematics terms while reading smoothly through some documents will cause annoyance and disturbance. Let our glossary get rid of this problem for you. With various words and phrases covering from algebra and geometry to frequency distribution, we hope that you will benefit from this article after reading it. 

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