al·ge·bra | \ˈal-jə-brə \

Definition of algebra 

1 : a generalization of arithmetic in which letters representing numbers are combined according to the rules of arithmetic

2 : 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

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Other Words from algebra

algebraist \-ˌbrā-ist \ noun

Examples of algebra in a Sentence

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The Florida Department of Education last month proposed new tests and higher scores for students who couldn’t pass Florida’s algebra and language arts tests and were using alternative exams to graduate. Leslie Postal,, "Florida wants to delay new test-score rules; educators still worry about graduation impact," 17 Apr. 2018 Langlands’ research demonstrated how concepts from geometry, algebra and analysis could be brought together by a common link to prime numbers. Martin H. Weissman, Smithsonian, "Why Prime Numbers Still Surprise and Mystify Mathematicians," 2 Apr. 2018 Somerset’s eighth-grade teachers are certified in algebra. Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A. school districts made all eighth-graders take algebra — and it worked," 26 June 2018 Last year, about 30 percent of Orange’s graduates, for example, used P.E.R.T. to graduate after failing the state’s algebra exam. Leslie Postal,, "Florida poised to make some graduation test rules tougher," 16 May 2018 This fall, at least 2,227 eighth-graders are expected to take algebra. Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A. school districts made all eighth-graders take algebra — and it worked," 26 June 2018 The myriad problems that day turned into an algebra of blame—so many had failed to carry out their duties that no one source could be concretely assigned sole responsibility. Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian, "The Iroquois Theater Disaster Killed Hundreds and Changed Fire Safety Forever," 12 June 2018 Amari Aaron, an eighth grader at the school, had Mr. Braddy for homeroom and algebra. Ashley Southall And Nate Schweber, New York Times, "Brooklyn School Grapples With Teacher’s Arrest on Sex Abuse Charges," 26 Apr. 2018 At Bloomfield High School Powell teaches algebra, geometry and AP statistics. Steven Goode, Courant Community, "Amanda Powell Named Bloomfield's Teacher Of The Year," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'algebra.' 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 algebra

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for algebra

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

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Statistics for algebra

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for algebra

The first known use of algebra was in 1551

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More Definitions for algebra



English Language Learners Definition of algebra

: a branch of mathematics that uses numbers and letters that represent numbers


al·ge·bra | \ˈal-jə-brə \

Kids Definition of algebra

: a branch of mathematics in which symbols (as letters and numbers) are combined according to the rules of arithmetic

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More from Merriam-Webster on algebra

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Britannica English: Translation of algebra for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about algebra

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