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Math Terminology Part 1: Numbers and Operations

 

Numbers and Operations

Natural numbers - The counting numbers (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4....)

 

Whole numbers - The natural numbers, plus zero (i.e. 0, 1, 2, 3, 4.....)

 

Integer - A positive or negative whole number, including 0

Eg. ...-2, -1, 0, 1, 2...

 

Multiple - In math, a multiple refers to the numbers that a given number will divide into exactly

Eg. The multiples of 4 are 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28......

 

Least common multiple (LCM) - The smallest non-zero number that is a common multiple of two or more given numbers.                

Eg. The multiples of 3 and 7 are:

Multiples of 3: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27...

Multiples of 7: 7, 14, 21, 28, 35....

 

Lowest common denominator (LCD) - The LCM of the given denominators, used in the addition and subtraction of fractions

Eg. For the fractions 5/7 and 2/3, the LCD is 21

 

Factor - When two or more integers are multiplied together to give a product, each integer is known as a factor of the product

Eg. 1, 2, 4, 8 are factors of 8 since 1 * 8 = 8 and 2 * 4 = 8

 

Prime number - A whole number greater than 1 that has only two factors, one and itself                 

Eg. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17.........

 

Composite number - A number that has factors other than one and itself (all non-prime numbers)                  

Eg. 4, 6, 8, 9, 10...

 

Greatest Common Factor (GCF) - The largest factor of two or more numbers that is common to both (all) of them                            

Eg. The factors of,

25 à 1, 5, 25

35 à 1, 5, 7, 35

Therefore the GCF is 5

 

Square root - One of two equal factors of a given number

Eg. 4 is the square root of 16

 

Cube root - One of three equal factors of a particular number

Eg. 3 is the cube root of 27

 

Reciprocal - Any two numbers that have a product of 1

Eg. 24 * 1/24 = 1; therefore, these two numbers are reciprocals

 

Ratio - A comparison of quantities with similar units using division

Eg. A ratio can be written in any of the following forms: a to b, a:b, or a/b

 

Proportion - An equation involving two ratios

Eg. 2:3 = 4:x or 2/3 = 4/x

 

Lowest terms - When a fraction or ratio is in a form such that the numerator and denominator have no common factors other than 1

Eg. 2/8 is not in lowest terms but 1/4 is in lowest terms

 

Percent - The % symbol means "per 100" or "over 100."  The number is expressed with one-hundred as the denominator

Eg.  24% can also be written as 24/100

 

Distributive Property - You can multiply a number outside the brackets by the sum of the addends or you can multiply that number by each individual addend and get the same result

Eg. a(b + c) = ab + ac

 

Equation - A mathematical sentence containing an equal sign, numbers and letters (terms), and operational signs

Eg. C = 4 + 5x, or 2 + 4 = 6

 

Variables - Letters or symbols that represent a number

Eg. For 3x2, x is the variable

 

Like terms - The terms in an algebraic expression that have the same variables raised to the same power, independent of the order of the variables

Eg. 4x2 and 7x2 are like terms and 3xy and 17yx are like terms

 

For other math terminology, refer to the various math dictionaries online.

 

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