co·​ef·​fi·​cient | \ ˌkō-ə-ˈfi-shənt How to pronounce coefficient (audio) \

Definition of coefficient

1 : any of the factors of a product considered in relation to a specific factor especially : a constant factor of a term as distinguished from a variable
2a : a number that serves as a measure of some property or characteristic (as of a substance, device, or process) coefficient of expansion of a metal
b : measure

Examples of coefficient in a Sentence

5 is the coefficient of y in the term 5y. the metal's coefficient of expansion
Recent Examples on the Web The first dimension comes from taking a subset of the 3 billion numbers and adding them together, or multiplying them by some coefficient. Quanta Magazine, "The Computer Scientist Who Shrinks Big Data," 7 Dec. 2020 Gini coefficient is based on the government’s investment and debt data from 2012. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The stock market vs. the hunger index: The painful display of India’s inequality during the pandemic," 18 Jan. 2021 Because India lacks consistent and high-quality household survey data from official sources, calculating the Gini coefficient, an index to measure income inequality, is tricky. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The stock market vs. the hunger index: The painful display of India’s inequality during the pandemic," 18 Jan. 2021 This could be considered the first attempt to create a bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient. Brad Fenson, Outdoor Life, "The FireStick Is Just the Latest Innovation in the Evolution of Muzzleloaders," 28 Oct. 2020 For example, these conditions violate the rational root theorem, which says that any rational roots of a polynomial must be a ratio of a factor of the constant term divided by a factor of the leading coefficient. Quanta Magazine, "Some Math Problems Seem Impossible. That Can Be a Good Thing.," 18 Nov. 2020 The Air has a coefficient of drag of 0.21, which is a record for its class, beating the Tesla Model 3’s 0.23. Eric Adams, Wired, "How the ‘Dead Zone’ Could Help This Car Take on Tesla," 13 Nov. 2020 Cugat and Narita estimated changes in inequality using the Gini coefficient, an economic measure of income distribution. Karen Ho, Quartz, "The pandemic has inequality rising in poor countries," 6 Nov. 2020 The patient friction coefficient introduces the patient experience into the trial design process in a scientifically valid way. Murray Aitken, STAT, "‘Patient friction coefficient’ can gauge the burden of participating in a clinical trial," 30 Oct. 2020

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

circa 1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coefficient

New Latin coefficient-, coefficiens, from Latin co- + efficient-, efficiens efficient

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Time Traveler for coefficient

Time Traveler

The first known use of coefficient was circa 1715

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Statistics for coefficient

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coefficient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of coefficient

mathematics : a number by which another number or symbol is multiplied
physics : a number that is used to measure some property or characteristic of a substance


co·​ef·​fi·​cient | \ ˌkō-ə-ˈfish-ənt How to pronounce coefficient (audio) \

Medical Definition of coefficient

: a number that serves as a measure of some property (as of a substance) or characteristic (as of a device or process) and that is commonly used as a factor in computations the coefficient of expansion of a metal — see absorption coefficient

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