View synonyms for algorithm


[ al-guh-rith-uhm ]


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


/ ˈælɡəˌrɪðəm /


  1. a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem Compare heuristic
  2. logic maths a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated
“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


/ ălgə-rĭth′əm /

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

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Derived Forms

  • ˌalgoˈrithmically, adverb
  • ˌalgoˈrithmic, adjective
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Other Words From

  • al·go·rith·mic [al-g, uh, -, rith, -mik], adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of algorithm1

First recorded in 1690–1700; variant of algorism ( def ), by association with Greek arithmós “number”; arithmetic ( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of algorithm1

C17: changed from algorism , through influence of Greek arithmos number
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Example Sentences

Since she posted her tutorial on Kapwing’s YouTube channel, a number of other YouTubers have also made tutorials using the same copy-and-pasted algorithm.

The researchers trained their algorithm on already-parsed datasets collected by NASA’s retired, planet-hunting Kepler mission.

From Fortune

These updates are real — Google announced a core algorithm update on May 4, after all — but you don’t need to worry.

Rather than relying on semiconductor physics and silicon-fabrication technology, though, we need to turn to innovations in software, algorithms, and hardware, says a group of leading experts.

Whenever Google updates her algorithm, there will be traffic losses and gains.

“Today we will learn the algorithm for receiving presents,” the instructor tells her students.

As long as that double-standard persists, no algorithm can fix its injustice.

Based on these results, the research group produced an emotion recognition algorithm.

It's leveraging its user base to make it more the algorithm more intelligent.

The biggest challenge for the Amiigo before its 2015 launch is perfecting the training portion of the algorithm.

The gnomes were slightly lewd-looking, and they were the product of a generative algorithm that varied each one.

Then the CAD people added an algorithm that would take the sensor data and generate random variations on the same basis.

Evolutionary algorithm used to produce a minimum-materials/maximum-strength chassis.

We still use the word algorithm in reference to calculations.


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More about Algorithm

What is an algorithm?

An algorithm is a set of instructions or rules that can be followed to solve a problem.

Algorithms are most commonly used in mathematics and computing, and they can often be very complex or have many steps or sets of instructions.

For example, your teacher asks you to add 537 and 162. You might solve the problem by lining up 162 under 537 and adding the columns of numbers together. You add the 7 and 2 in the ones column to get 9, Next, you add the numbers in the tens column (3 and 6) to get 9. Finally, you add 5 and 1 in the hundreds column and get 6. Your answer, then, is 699. You have followed an addition algorithm to find the solution.

In computing, a computer coder will create a set of instructions (the algorithm) that a computer or artificial intelligence will use to solve a problem or will consult in order to achieve a goal. Let’s say you spend the day watching Star Wars videos on YouTube. With each video you watch, the website will recommend other videos it thinks you will like. How does it know what you like? It runs an algorithm that finds videos that are similar to the ones you’ve already watched. If Darth Vader shows up in a video of a car commercial, YouTube will likely recommend it to you to watch because Vader was in a lot of the Star Wars videos you’ve already watched.

Why is algorithm important?

The first records of the term algorithm come from around 1690. It is a variation of the older word algorism, which ultimately comes from the name of the ninth-century mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi. Actual algorithms have been used in math since ancient times. The Euclidean algorithm, for example, was thought up by the Greek mathematician Euclid around 300 b.c.e.

Just by using the internet, you have very likely run into an algorithm—or at least the results of one. Search engines use algorithms to figure out what order to put search results in, websites use them to determine which ads to show you, and social media websites use them to decide which of your friends’ posts you are most likely to want to see.

Many websites keep the specifics of how their algorithm works a secret. They do this in order to prevent users from exploiting or abusing the algorithm to guarantee it selects their content over everyone else’s. For example, if a user knew that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm prioritizes videos that are exactly four minutes long, they could create hundreds of four-minute videos to trick the algorithm into showing their videos to the majority of YouTube users.

Did you know … ?

Many algorithms used on websites are designed to adjust themselves and learn the best ways to accomplish problems. Because of this, algorithms will often behave in ways their designers never expected. An algorithm can even change itself to the point that even the original creator has no idea how it works anymore.

What are real-life examples of algorithm?

This video gives a simplified explanation of how computing algorithms work:

<iframe loading="lazy" title="YouTube video player" src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Many people have become familiar (and annoyed) with algorithms, thanks to their increasingly common use in computing.


What other words are related to algorithm?

Quiz yourself!

Is the following a correct use of algorithm?

Rather than follow a set of instructions, the website instead uses an algorithm that randomly selects which advertisements to show users.




algorismalgorithmic language