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algebra

If the math equation you're doing has letters or other symbols that stand for numbers, you're likely doing algebra. You probably took your first algebra class early in your high school years.

The noun algebra comes from Arabic word al jebr, meaning "reunion of broken parts," which appeared in the title of mathematician al-Khwarizmi's famous book on equations. In algebra you use basic arithmetic like addition and subtraction, but the quantities you're working with are often unknown — that's why they're represented by letters. You might remember solving algebra equations that look like this: a(b + c) = ab + ac. The letters a, b, and c all represent a number.

Definitions of algebra
  1. noun
    the mathematics of generalized arithmetical operations
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    types:
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    quadratics
    a branch of algebra dealing with quadratic equations
    linear algebra
    the part of algebra that deals with the theory of linear equations and linear transformation
    vector algebra
    the part of algebra that deals with the theory of vectors and vector spaces
    matrix algebra
    the part of algebra that deals with the theory of matrices
    decomposition, vector decomposition
    the analysis of a vector field
    type of:
    pure mathematics
    the branches of mathematics that study and develop the principles of mathematics for their own sake rather than for their immediate usefulness
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