de·​nom·​i·​na·​tor | \ di-ˈnä-mə-ˌnā-tər How to pronounce denominator (audio) \

Definition of denominator

1 mathematics : the part of a fraction that is below the line and that functions as the divisor of the numerator
2a : a shared trait a common denominator
b : the average level (as of taste or opinion) : standard manufacturers catering to a safely low denominator of public taste Time

Examples of denominator in a Sentence

In the fraction 2/3 the numerator is 2 and the denominator is 3.
Recent Examples on the Web The denominator always stays the same: tough, gritty, switching, suffocating, stifling, nasty defense. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Jan. 2022 But Pauley said its figures could be off for multiple reasons, such as the census denominator not including everyone who currently resides in a particular county, like part-time residents, or potential data-reporting errors. Phil Galewitz, Quartz, 10 Dec. 2021 This approach is ineffective because the denominator has already been set to zero. David Swanagon, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 What’s more, Arista will buy back $1 billion more of its stock — thus reducing the denominator in its earnings per share calculation. Peter Cohan, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 There is also the denominator of returns: how much equity the firm has to hold. Telis Demos, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 More often than not, themed recital programs resemble something akin to a string of Christmas lights: a bundle of ear-catching works loosely united through some common, if contrived denominator. Hannah Edgar,, 1 Sep. 2021 But with a virus now transmitting at a more aggressive clip, the growing denominator—the total number of cases—becomes meaningful. Gregory Barber, Wired, 30 Aug. 2021 The denominator for Minnesota's target could soon increase, Ehresmann noted. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, 4 May 2021

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

circa 1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for denominator

see denominate

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Time Traveler for denominator

Time Traveler

The first known use of denominator was circa 1542

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Denominator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of denominator

: the number in a fraction that is below the line and that divides the number above the line


de·​nom·​i·​na·​tor | \ di-ˈnä-mə-ˌnā-tər How to pronounce denominator (audio) \

Kids Definition of denominator

: the part of a fraction that is below the line The number 5 is the denominator of the fraction ³/₅.

More from Merriam-Webster on denominator

Nglish: Translation of denominator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of denominator for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about denominator


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