absolute value


noun Mathematics.

Also called numerical value. the magnitude of a quantity, irrespective of sign; the distance of a quantity from zero. The absolute value of a number is symbolized by two vertical lines, as |3| or |−3| is equal to 3.
the square root of the sum of the squares of the real and imaginary parts of a given complex number, as |a + bi| is equal to .

Nearby words

  1. absolute space,
  2. absolute temperature,
  3. absolute temperature scale,
  4. absolute threshold,
  5. absolute unit,
  6. absolute viscosity,
  7. absolute zero,
  8. absolutely,
  9. absolutely convergent,
  10. absolution

Origin of absolute value

First recorded in 1905–10

Also called modulus.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for absolute value

absolute value

noun maths

the positive real number equal to a given real but disregarding its sign. Written | x |. Where r is positive, | r | = r = | – r |
Also called: modulus a measure of the magnitude of a complex number, represented by the length of a line in the Argand diagram: | x + i y | = √(x ² + y ²), so | 4 + 3i | = 5
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

Science definitions for absolute value

absolute value

The value of a number without regard to its sign. For example, the absolute value of +3 (written |;+3|;) and the absolute value of -3 (written |;-3|;) are both 3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.