absolute value


Definition of absolute value

1 : a nonnegative number equal in numerical value to a given real number
2 : 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 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, "Solution: ‘The Road Less Traveled’," 25 Sep. 2015 This correlates with a higher absolute value of the second number in the pair (–15 versus –11). Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Creating Art With Mathematics’," 30 Oct. 2015 DoorDash also surpassed Grubhub in market share as measured among the online food delivery companies that Second Measure tracks using anonymized credit transaction data, though the absolute value of those sales has grown for both companies. Alison Griswold, Quartz, "DoorDash has unseated Grubhub as the leader in US online food delivery," 23 June 2019 China also beat the United States in absolute value of national power in 2016. Simon Saradzhyan, Washington Post, "Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in decline? We figured out how to measure ‘national power.’," 20 June 2018 If safety were an absolute value in transportation policy, the national highway speed limit would be fifteen miles an hour. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 All four models show that Russia has lagged behind China and India in absolute values of national power. Simon Saradzhyan, Washington Post, "Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in decline? We figured out how to measure ‘national power.’," 20 June 2018 Democracy, for Mises, was not an absolute value to be respected at all times. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies," 23 Apr. 2018 That absolute value became their dependent variable, the thing that changed over time. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Maybe Election Polls Aren't Broken After All," 12 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolute value.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absolute value

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for absolute value

Time Traveler

The first known use of absolute value was in 1803

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Statistics for absolute value

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Absolute value.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute%20value. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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