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

Examples of algebra in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At Pasadena City College, college algebra for STEM majors is labeled Math 003. Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times, "Math 106, Math 003: same class, different colleges. Why a common number system is elusive," 30 Apr. 2021 The 153-page book explains quantum mechanics with a little arithmetic and algebra and lots of diagrams of black-and-white balls going in and out of boxes. John Horgan, Scientific American, "Will Quantum Computing Ever Live Up to Its Hype?," 20 Apr. 2021 Students at Sierra are spending full days in biology, algebra, ceramics, social studies, Spanish class or an agricultural biology course, which includes taking care of a half dozen small turkeys housed in a classroom. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, "This Northern California school district reopened classrooms five months ago. The results may surprise you," 12 Apr. 2021 Math Antics—This YouTube channel, started by two friends with backgrounds in math and animation, has become a popular show, with lessons on everything from algebra to statistics. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Help for Kids Falling Behind in Math—From AI-Powered Apps, Games and Even YouTube," 20 Mar. 2021 When the pandemic hit and classes were completely virtual, math teacher Chris Waba knew that 12-year-old Rylee Anderson was struggling with her algebra homework and her parents were unfamiliar with the new way of teaching the course. James Barrett, Redbook, "Good News Report: Stories That Moved Us in 2020," 16 Dec. 2020 Crowder’s favorite course in school is math, especially algebra. Dallas News, "Softball player of the week (3/21): Hebron’s Lucy Crowder," 21 Mar. 2021 The cracks in the literacy long con begin to show, and by the time middle school rolls around, those cracks have become craters your kids will gladly lob grenades made of logic and algebra into. Washington Post, "This key lime pie is a great tool for building kids’ — or your — confidence in the kitchen," 19 Mar. 2021 Florida law also ties promotion to fourth grade to passing the state reading test and earning a diploma to passing both a reading and an algebra 1 exam. Leslie Postal,, "Florida will seek waiver from some federal school testing rules," 17 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for algebra

Time Traveler

The first known use of algebra was in 1551

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Statistics for algebra

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Algebra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

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

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