al·​ge·​bra | \ ˈal-jə-brə How to pronounce algebra (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from algebra

algebraist \ ˈal-​jə-​ˌbrā-​ist How to pronounce algebra (audio) \ noun

Examples of algebra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Justice Sharon Kennedy pushed back on O’Connor’s argument about the algebra teacher who becomes a security officer when authorized to carry a handgun. cleveland, "Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether state law requires armed teachers, school staff be trained like school police officers," 12 Jan. 2021 Gamboa ended up receiving incompletes in three classes: AP English Language and Composition, chemistry and algebra. Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times, "Facing a spike in Fs, winter break isn’t a vacation for many teachers and students," 30 Dec. 2020 Some algebra illuminates this and hints at an underlying symmetry. Quanta Magazine, "Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.," 18 Nov. 2020 Urwan earned a degree in physics and taught algebra to middle schoolers. Los Angeles Times, "A tale of two cities: the cautious refugees hit by COVID-19 and those who call it a hoax and refuse masks," 18 Dec. 2020 The school has no math classes beyond algebra and geometry, so the hero’s father persuades him to learn trigonometry and calculus on his own to pursue his dream of going to space. Washington Post, "Progressive education hard to pin down because it’s everywhere," 4 Nov. 2020 The definitions sprawled across many areas of math, from algebra to topology to geometry. Quanta Magazine, "Building the Mathematical Library of the Future," 1 Oct. 2020 Google is fine, up to a point, but Wolfram|Alpha beats it in all kinds of areas—from mathematical equations and algebra to cultural history and entertainment. David Nield, Wired, "9 Browser Extensions to Help You Search the Web Better," 6 Dec. 2020 The boy, who is now taking geometry and advanced algebra, is considering a career in engineering. Washington Post, "Fairfax families sue over changes to Thomas Jefferson High’s admissions," 5 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about algebra

Time Traveler for algebra

Time Traveler

The first known use of algebra was in 1551

See more words from the same year

Statistics for algebra

Last Updated

27 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Algebra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce algebra (audio) \

Kids Definition of algebra

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on algebra

Nglish: Translation of algebra for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on algebra

What made you want to look up algebra? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!