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[pol-uh-noh-mee-uh l] /ˌpɒl əˈnoʊ mi əl/
consisting of or characterized by two or more names or terms.
  1. (in one variable) an expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms each of which is the product of a constant and a variable raised to an integral power: ax 2 + bx + c is a polynomial, where a, b, and c are constants and x is a variable.
  2. a similar expression in more than one variable, as 4 x 2 y 3 − 3 xy + 5 x + 7.
  3. Now Rare.. Also called multinomial. any expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms, as 4 x 3 + cos x.
a polynomial name or term.
Biology. a species name containing more than two terms.
Origin of polynomial
First recorded in 1665-75; poly- + (bi)nomial Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for polynomial


of, consisting of, or referring to two or more names or terms
  1. a mathematical expression consisting of a sum of terms each of which is the product of a constant and one or more variables raised to a positive or zero integral power. For one variable, x, the general form is given by: a0xn + a1xn–1 + … + an–1x + an, where a0, a1, etc, are real numbers
  2. Also called multinomial. any mathematical expression consisting of the sum of a number of terms
(biology) a taxonomic name consisting of more than two terms, such as Parus major minor in which minor designates the subspecies
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for polynomial

1670s (n.), 1704 (adj.), irregularly formed from poly- + stem of binomial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polynomial in Science
An algebraic expression that is the sum of two or more monomials. The expressions x2 - 4 and 5x4 + 2x3 - x + 7 are both polynomials.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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