In mathematics, a variable that can take on the value of a complex number. In basic algebra, the variables x and y generally stand for values of real numbers. The algebra of complex numbers (complex analysis) uses the complex variable z to represent a number of the form a + bi. The modulus of z is its absolute value. A complex variable may be graphed as a vector from the origin to the point (a,b) in a rectangular coordinate system, its modulus corresponding to the vector's length. Called an Argand diagram, this representation establishes a connection between complex analysis and vector analysis. See also Euler's formula.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on complex variable, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up complex variable? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.