word problem


Definition of word problem

: a mathematical problem expressed entirely in words typically used as an educational tool

Examples of word problem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Placement tests also aren’t perfect, because reading passages and word problems may reference subjects some students aren’t familiar with, while other students may underperform because of nerves, Zaback said. Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Line between remedial, mainstream classes blurs as Colorado colleges reconsider paths to student success," 12 Aug. 2019 The math section is made up of multiple-choice word problems, as well as computational questions. Tyler Blint-welsh, New York Times, "What Is the SHSAT Exam? And Why Does It Matter?," 21 June 2018 Gone are the days of apples and oranges — the word problems on a recent middle school math test used cocaine, ammunition and tricks for arithmetic practice. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Middle School Students Receive Quiz About Prostitution, Drugs and Gangs," 2 June 2016 The Roxana School District, on the other hand, called the word problems examples of poor judgment. Anne Branigin, The Root, "Parents Big Mad Over High School Math Teacher’s Drug-Referencing Homework," 6 Feb. 2018 Sanders also added in a three-minute-long word problem and her best Mariah Carey impersonation. Anne Branigin, The Root, "The Lowlights From the White House’s ‘How to Get Away With Conspiracy Against the US’ Playbook," 30 Oct. 2017 The research involved controlled experiments such as pairing a fun activity (playing a game) with a work task (completing math and word problems). Demetria Gallegos, WSJ, "Work Before Fun? That Might Not Always Be Best," 22 Oct. 2017 Could the Babylonians who lived in what is now Iraq more than 3,700 years ago solve a word problem like this? Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Hints of Trigonometry on a 3,700-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet," 29 Aug. 2017

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

1903, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for word problem

The first known use of word problem was in 1903

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to make a temporary encampment

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