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Browse High School Definitions

Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or good places to begin browsing.

Vertical Angles [10/27/1996]
What are vertical angles?

Visualizing Skew Lines [05/16/2002]
What do you call lines that are not parallel but don't intersect?

Volume vs. Capacity [05/01/2002]
Can you explain the difference between the terms volume and capacity? Also mass and weight.

Ways to Remember the Meaning of Circumference, Radius, Diameter, and Chord [03/18/2004]
If the minute hand touched the edge of the clock, would it be most like a diameter, radius, circumference, or chord of a circle? I have a hard time remembering what each of those means.

What Are Differential Equations? [12/17/2003]
Can you please tell me what differential equations are? Why do they have two variables? Why are the solutions formulas and not numbers?

What are Flops? [02/25/2001]
What are flops, as relating to computers?

What Are Proofs? [08/12/1997]
I am homeschooling and do not understand proofs. Can you help me out?

What Are Quadratic Functions? [02/27/2003]
What is the difference between a quadratic function and a quadratic formula?

What Are the Definitions of Zero and Root? [12/23/2003]
What is a zero, and what is a root? How are they used with regard to equations? Different sources seem to be giving me different answers, some of which contradict each other. What actually IS a root or zero?

What Constitutes a Prism? [06/10/1999]
If I am looking at an object that's shaped like a triangle, how do I know if it's a prism?

What Does a Twofold Increase Mean? [01/23/2004]
Is a twofold increase simply twice the amount? What about a threefold increase? I'm not used to this terminology of using 'fold.' Does it refer to powers or multiples?

What Does Average Mean? [12/05/2001]
Can someone explain what average is? For example what is the average rainfall in New York? I understand the formula needed to find the average, but what is the meaning of average?

What Does a Vertical Bar Mean? [01/29/2001]
I want to know what the symbol | means, for example |2+3|.

What Does EE Stand For? [01/14/2003]
What does the EE stand for on a scientific calculator?

What Does "Stellated" Mean? [03/31/1998]
Stellating polyhedra, including solids that are already stellated.

What is a continued fraction? [03/06/1998]
What is a continued fraction and what makes it different from the types of fractions or ratios I'm used to?

What is a Cuboctahedron? [01/02/2001]
What is a cuboctahedron?

What is a Functional Transformation? [08/11/2002]
I would like a brief definition of a functional transformation and what an application is in early Calculus.

What is a Median? [03/03/1998]
A definition of median, and four examples of calculating medians.

What is an N-gon? [06/01/1998]
Can you explain the statement: "In an N-gon, n-3 diagonals can be drawn from one vertex"?

What is a point? [8/26/1996]
Define a point, please.

What is a Property? [11/29/2001]
I understand Undefined and Defined terms and Axioms and Theorems, but what exactly is a Property? Is it the same thing as a Theorem? Also what is a Law?

What is a Set? [04/04/1997]
What is the correct term to refer to groups of objects like 3 cars, 7 pencils, or 5 apples?

What is a Sign? [04/21/2003]
Can you do anything in math without signs?

What is a slide rule? [07/27/1997]
What does a slide rule do and how does it work?

What Is a Theorem and Why Are They Important? [08/15/1997]
I don't understand how theorems help us learn.

What is Dimensional Analysis? [11/26/2001]
What is dimensional analysis and how does it work?

What is Length in a Rectangle? [05/31/1999]
Is the length of a rectangle the longest side, whether vertical or horizontal?

What is Math? [10/04/1997]
Is math a science, an art, or some other anomaly?

What is Meant by "the Sum of a Series"? [10/21/2003]
A series is the sum of consecutive terms. So why do many authors speak about "the sum of a series" if the name "series" already means "sum of consecutive terms"?

What is the Definition of 'Number'? [01/26/2006]
I think of a number as a symbol for a measure of magnitude, like how many of something there are. You can't have 2 + i things, so how can that be a complex 'number'? How do you define what a number really is?

What Motivates New Definitions? [02/06/2000]
Why do so many mathematical objects -- groups, fields, rings, vector spaces -- have nearly identical definitions and properties? Does every new object have to undergo some rigorous proof of its existence?

What Skew Lines Are and Aren't [01/14/2004]
A description of skew lines including diagrams and definitions.

When is the expression Q.E.D. used? [02/15/1999]
More on Q.E.D.

Why Cubed? [11/27/2001]
Why do we use "cubed" for the volume of a figure?

Why Does 0^0 = 1 and Not Undefined? [11/30/2007]
Your proof for why x^0 = 1 uses a law which breaks down at x = 0. Then in your definition for 0^0 you side significantly in favor of 0^0 = 1 based on your rule for x^0 = 1 (which was based on a law that breaks down at 0). Based on what I've read I would side in favor of undefined. Are there any more conclusive reasons for siding with 0^0 = 1?

Why Do We Have Leap Year ? [02/25/1998]
Why do we need to have one extra day each 4 years?

Why Is a Circle 360 Degrees? [07/01/1998]
Why is a circle defined as 360 degrees?

Why is a Telescoping Series Called Telescoping? [03/29/2008]
I understand what a telescoping series is, but I'm curious why it is referred to as 'telescoping'. What's the reason for that name?

Why is K Used as an Abbreviation for Area? [11/29/2004]
Many textbooks use the letter K to represent area in formulas, instead of A. Do you know why that is?

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