Definition of determinant
1 : an element that identifies or determines the nature of something or that fixes or conditions an outcome education level as a determinant of income
2 mathematics : a square array of numbers bordered on the left and right by a vertical line and having a value equal to the algebraic sum of all possible products where the number of factors in each product is the same as the number of rows or columns, each factor in a given product is taken from a different row and column, and the sign of a product is positive or negative depending upon whether the number of permutations necessary to place the indices representing each factor's position in its row or column in the order of the natural numbers is odd or even
3 genetics : gene the determinant of the sickle-cell trait
4 biology : epitope
determinantalplay \-ˌtər-mə-ˈnan-təl\ adjective
Recent Examples of determinant from the Web
Determinant tomatoes — a type that stops growing taller at a certain point — are a better choice.
The scheduled pay per full-time worker is a key determinant of spending by families and households with at least one member in steady and secure employment.
For Chernobyl birds, color is a curse [Los Angeles Times] Determinants of interspecific variation in population declines of birds after exposure to radiation at Chernobyl [Journal of Applied Ecology]
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'determinant'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of determinant
First Known Use: 1686
DETERMINANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of determinant for English Language Learners
: a thing that controls or influences what happens
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