the branch of mathematics that deals with general statements of relations, utilizing letters and other symbols to represent specific sets of numbers, values, vectors, etc., in the description of such relations.
any of several algebraic systems, especially a ring in which elements can be multiplied by real or complex numbers (linear algebra) as well as by other elements of the ring.
any special system of notation adapted to the study of a special system of relationship: algebra of classes.

Origin of algebra

1535–45; < Medieval Latin < Arabic al-jabr literally, restoration
Related formspre·al·ge·bra, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for algebra

Contemporary Examples of algebra

Historical Examples of algebra

  • According to every rule of algebra, not more than one of us three should be alive now.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Apples and algebra were the things she cared most about in school life.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • She went singing to her algebra, which she could not have done if it had not been snowing.

    The Green Satin Gown

    Laura E. Richards

  • Has your algebra bothered you, or is the barn dance troubling your conscience?

    Pocket Island

    Charles Clark Munn

  • One might almost as well say, "If I only had the knowledge of algebra I had as a child!"

British Dictionary definitions for algebra



a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations and relationships are generalized by using alphabetic symbols to represent unknown numbers or members of specified sets of numbers
the branch of mathematics dealing with more abstract formal structures, such as sets, groups, etc
Derived Formsalgebraist (ˌældʒɪˈbreɪɪst), noun

Word Origin for algebra

C14: from Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr the bone-setting, reunification, mathematical reduction
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

Word Origin and History for algebra

1550s, from Medieval Latin algebra, from Arabic al jebr "reunion of broken parts," as in computation, used 9c. by Baghdad mathematician Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi as the title of his famous treatise on equations ("Kitab al-Jabr w'al-Muqabala" "Rules of Reintegration and Reduction"), which also introduced Arabic numerals to the West. The accent shifted 17c. from second syllable to first. The word was used in English 15c.-16c. to mean "bone-setting," probably from Arab medical men in Spain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

algebra in Science



A branch of mathematics in which symbols, usually letters of the alphabet, represent numbers or quantities and express general relationships that hold for all members of a specified set.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

algebra in Culture


A branch of mathematics marked chiefly by the use of symbols (see also symbol) to represent numbers, as in the use of a2 + b2 = c2 to express the Pythagorean theorem.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.