# coefficient

## noun

co·​ef·​fi·​cient
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
2
a
: 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

## 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 Acoustic engineers now assign an absorption coefficient to surfaces, a number indicating how easily an object is penetrated by sound waves. Lynn Whidden, Scientific American, 26 July 2024 In the briefing, the colonel lets Macon monologue about drag and fuel coefficients and whatnot before acknowledging that even with drop tanks, the fighters probably won’t have enough fuel to return to Italy. Chris Klimek, Vulture, 8 Mar. 2024 It is commonly measured by the Gini coefficient, which runs from zero, a hypothetical case of full equality in which every person earned the same amount, to 100, another hypothetical case in which a single individual made all the income. Branko Milanovic, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2023 Over the finite field with two elements, the coefficients and whole numbers of polynomials are both encoded as strings of zeros and ones. Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, 6 May 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coefficient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

## Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of coefficient was circa 1715

coefficient

## Cite this Entry

“Coefficient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coefficient. Accessed 13 Sep. 2024.

## Kids Definition

coefficient

noun
co·​ef·​fi·​cient
1
: a number or symbol by which another number or symbol (as a mathematical variable) is multiplied
3 is the coefficient of x in the expression 3x
2
: a number that serves as a measure of some property (as of a substance or device)
the metal's coefficient of expansion

## Medical Definition

coefficient

noun
co·​ef·​fi·​cient
: 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

## More from Merriam-Webster on coefficient

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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