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In mathematics, a rule for changing one geometric figure (or matrix or vector) into another using a formula with a specified format. The format must be a linear combination, in which the original components (e.g., the x and y coordinates of each point of the original figure) are changed via the formula ax + by to produce the coordinates of the transformed figure. Examples include flipping the figure over the x or y axis, stretching or compressing it, and rotating it. Every such transformation has an inverse, which undoes its effect.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on linear transformation, visit Britannica.com.