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

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Other Words from algebra

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

Examples of algebra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While the course does not count for college credit, students who pass can take college-level algebra or an equivalent math course, like statistics, as early as second semester for dual credit. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "The Benefits of Starting College Early—in High School," 10 Feb. 2019 And ultimately, the number of students who met state standards in algebra doubled. Sally Ho, The Seattle Times, "Despite hurricane, at-risk Houston students made gains," 1 Oct. 2018 The auditor found that 11 students who received credit for intermediate algebra had not passed the final exam. Rosanna Xia,, "L.A. Trade-Tech administrators received $157,000 for work they failed to justify, investigation finds," 8 July 2018 Orange County school officials shifted the order of high school math courses several years ago, hoping to boost passing rates on the state’s algebra end-of-course exam. Leslie Postal,, "Florida's civics test: Lawmakers suspect "dishonest tactics, districts deny charges," 3 July 2018 Seems as though puberty, algebra and bullying does outweigh potty training, nap-time strikes and picky eating habits, according to new research from Arizona State University published in the journal Developmental Psychology. Christine Coppa, Good Housekeeping, "Middle School Proves to Be the Most Stressful Time — for the Whole Family," 27 Jan. 2016 But for millions of young people, the site has already become as much a part of their days as algebra, soccer practice, and iCarly. Susan Dominus, Redbook, "Underage on Facebook," 4 Jan. 2012 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

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

20 Feb 2019

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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 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

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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

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).


to boil down or concentrate

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