scientific notation


: a widely used floating-point system in which numbers are expressed as products consisting of a number between 1 and 10 multiplied by an appropriate power of 10 (as in 1.591 × 10−20)

Examples of scientific notation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Filesystems almost universally use the powers of two (standard scientific notation), whereas storage device specifications are almost universally in powers of ten. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, 19 Sep. 2019 The c is lower-case and italicized, as per the scientific notation for quickly light can move in a vacuum. Laura Hudson, The Verge, 19 May 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

1915, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scientific notation was in 1915

Dictionary Entries Near scientific notation

Cite this Entry

“Scientific notation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

scientific notation

: a system of writing numbers as the product of a number between 1 and 10 and a power of 10
999.9 is expressed in scientific notation as 9.999 × 102
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