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algebra Line breaks: al¦ge|bra
Pronunciation: /ˈaldʒɪbrə/

Definition of algebra in English:


[mass noun]
1The part of mathematics in which letters and other general symbols are used to represent numbers and quantities in formulae and equations: courses in algebra, geometry, and Newtonian physics
More example sentences
  • Among his many mathematical achievements can be included profound discoveries in logic, algebra and differential equations.
  • Aitken's mathematical work was in statistics, numerical analysis, and algebra.
  • König worked on a wide range of topics in algebra, number theory, geometry, set theory, and analysis.
1.1A system of algebra based on given axioms.
Example sentences
  • This was the time when Brauer made his fundamental contribution to the algebraic theory of simple algebras.…
  • Malcev also studied Lie groups and topological algebras, producing a synthesis of algebra and mathematical logic.
  • In 1870 Peirce published, at his own expense, Linear Associative Algebra a classification of all complex associative algebras of dimension less than seven.


Pronunciation: /ˌaldʒɪˈbreɪɪst/
Example sentences
  • Or he might want to train future algebraists and maybe attract a few Ph.D. students for himself.
  • Few algebraists seriously think about writing the great American comprehensive algebra text.
  • In other words, like many other algebraists, Chinese or not, he demonstrates algebra by using it…


Late Middle English: from Italian, Spanish, and medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr 'the reunion of broken parts', 'bone-setting', from jabara 'reunite, restore'. The original sense, 'the surgical treatment of fractures', probably came via Spanish, in which it survives; the mathematical sense comes from the title of a book, ‘ilm al-jabr wa'l-muqābala 'the science of restoring what is missing and equating like with like', by the mathematician al-Ḵwārizmī (see algorithm).

  • Bone-setting does not seem to have much to do with mathematics, but there is a connection in the word algebra. It comes from the Arabic al-jabr ‘the reunion of broken parts’, used specifically to refer to the surgical treatment of fractures and to bone-setting. Algebra was used in this meaning in English in the 16th century. The mathematical sense comes from the title of a 9th-century Arabic book ilm al-jabr wa'l-mukabala, ‘the science of restoring what is missing and equating like with like’, written by the mathematician al-Kwarizmi (c.790–c.840).

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