dis·​crim·​i·​nant di-ˈskri-mə-nənt How to pronounce discriminant (audio)
: a mathematical expression providing a criterion for the behavior of another more complicated expression, relation, or set of relations

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Polynomials were assigned to groups based on the discriminant, a number associated with a polynomial’s roots. Quanta Magazine, 21 Apr. 2022 Just as in the debate on inclusion, the difference of gender or ethnicity is confused with the real discriminant, the difference in social class (as taught by Elliott Major, Professor of Social Mobility at Exeter University). Anna Zanardi Cappon, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 If multiple antenna inputs are available, a very powerful discriminant is to see if all of the signals come from the same direction. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, 22 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discriminant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1948, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of discriminant was circa 1948

Dictionary Entries Near discriminant

Cite this Entry

“Discriminant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discriminant. Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​crim·​i·​nant dis-ˈkrim-(ə-)nənt How to pronounce discriminant (audio)
: the expression b2 − 4ac which is used to find out how many solutions exist for a quadratic equation of the general form ax2 + bx + c = 0 and which indicates that two real solutions exist when it is positive, one solution exists when it is equal to zero, and no solutions exist when it is less than zero

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