al·​ge·​bra ˈal-jə-brə How to pronounce algebra (audio)
: a generalization of arithmetic in which letters representing numbers are combined according to the rules of arithmetic
: any of various systems or branches of mathematics or logic concerned with the properties and relationships of abstract entities (such as complex numbers, matrices, sets, vectors, groups, rings, or fields) manipulated in symbolic form under operations often analogous to those of arithmetic compare boolean algebra
algebraist noun

Examples of algebra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Seven months of war have taught them survival skills, not grammar and algebra. Bilal Shbair, New York Times, 6 May 2024 Left-handers tend to be better at algebra; the reason, suggest some, is that their brains are better suited to dealing with the abstract. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2024 Our knowledge of eclipses predates our knowledge of gravity, algebra, and toilet paper. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2024 Those students received algebra lessons in the morning, and then took Algebra 1 with their full class. Maura Turcotte, Fortune, 19 Oct. 2023 The company offers hundreds of educational lessons that range from taking a virtual trip to the Statue of Liberty to lessons on algebra. Bankim Chandra, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 How much algebra do students need to succeed in college? Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Sinema’s move simplifies the electoral algebra in the race for her seat from a three-way contest with no recent comparison to a more traditional clash between a Democrat and a Republican. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, 5 Mar. 2024 The two started meeting daily to align their lesson plans and set consistent, higher standards, ensuring smooth transitions from algebra to geometry and beyond. Calmatters, The Mercury News, 2 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr, literally, the reduction

First Known Use

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of algebra was in 1551

Dictionary Entries Near algebra

Cite this Entry

“Algebra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


al·​ge·​bra ˈal-jə-brə How to pronounce algebra (audio)
: a branch of mathematics that uses letters to represent numbers and that studies numbers and the operations (as multiplication and addition) that are used on them

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