calculus of variations

noun phrase

Definition of calculus of variations

: a branch of mathematics concerned with applying the methods of calculus to finding the maxima and minima of a function which depends for its values on another function or a curve

First Known Use of calculus of variations

1784, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about calculus of variations

Time Traveler for calculus of variations

Time Traveler

The first known use of calculus of variations was in 1784

See more words from the same year

Statistics for calculus of variations

Cite this Entry

“Calculus of variations.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on calculus of variations Encyclopedia article about calculus of variations

Comments on calculus of variations

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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