[ al-guh-rith-uhm ]
/ ˈæl gəˌrɪð əm /
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See synonyms for: algorithm / algorithmic on Thesaurus.com


Mathematics. a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as the Euclidean algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor.
Computers. an ordered set of instructions recursively applied to transform data input into processed data output, as a mathematical solution, descriptive statistics, internet search engine result, or predictive text suggestions.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of algorithm

First recorded in 1690–1700; variant of algorism, by association with Greek arithmós “number”; see arithmetic
al·go·rith·mic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for algorithm

/ (ˈælɡəˌrɪðəm) /


a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problemCompare heuristic
logic maths a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated
French name: algorism
algorithmic, adjectivealgorithmically, adverb
C17: changed from algorism, through influence of Greek arithmos number
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

Medical definitions for algorithm

[ ălgə-rĭð′əm ]


A step-by-step protocol, as for management of health care problems.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for algorithm

[ ălgə-rĭð′əm ]

A finite set of unambiguous instructions performed in a prescribed sequence to achieve a goal, especially a mathematical rule or procedure used to compute a desired result. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for algorithm

[ (al-guh-rith-uhm) ]

A set of instructions for solving a problem, especially on a computer. An algorithm for finding your total grocery bill, for example, would direct you to add up the costs of individual items to find the total.

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.
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