absolute value


: a nonnegative number equal in numerical value to a given real number
: the positive square root of the sum of the squares of the real and imaginary parts of a complex number

Examples of absolute value in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That paper found that tariffs had a substantial impact on trade, reducing U.S. imports of the goods that were subject to the levies, even as the absolute value of U.S. trade with China continued to rise. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, 31 Aug. 2023 The primary sleight of hand used by Pentagon budget boosters is to measure spending not by its absolute value – how many dollars are actually being spent, adjusted for inflation – but to express Pentagon spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). William Hartung, Forbes, 12 May 2021 In the shock scenario that's a 0.25 absolute value shift over two generations. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 27 June 2011 Mental accounting is a term that describes how people think in terms of relative value rather than absolute value. Brian Boswell, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Its rolling sound off the tongue? Ascribing arbitrary but absolute value to words and letters came to me naturally. Anna Shechtman, The New Yorker, 20 Dec. 2021 One way to evaluate an asset’s absolute value-creation potential is by focusing on profitability per joule unit of energy (USD/J) instead of cost per barrel. Muqsit Ashraf, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 The number of extra cars on the more crowded road is simply the absolute value of the difference between these numbers: |j – (200 – j)|. Quanta Magazine, 25 Sep. 2015 This correlates with a higher absolute value of the second number in the pair (–15 versus –11). Quanta Magazine, 30 Oct. 2015 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'absolute value.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of absolute value was in 1803

Dictionary Entries Near absolute value

Cite this Entry

“Absolute value.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute%20value. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

absolute value

: a nonnegative number that is equal to a given number with any negative sign removed
the absolute value of -3 is 3
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