[koh-uh-fish-uh nt]
See more synonyms for coefficient on
  1. Mathematics. a number or quantity placed (generally) before and multiplying another quantity, as 3 in the expression 3x.
  2. Physics. a number that is constant for a given substance, body, or process under certain specified conditions, serving as a measure of one of its properties: coefficient of friction.
  1. acting in consort; cooperating.

Origin of coefficient

First recorded in 1655–65, coefficient is from the New Latin word coefficient- (stem of coefficiēns). See co-, efficient
Related formsco·ef·fi·cient·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coefficient

Historical Examples of coefficient

  • You're referring to the necessity for a coefficient of discharge.

  • "Clear it ov its coefficient, and we'll thry," says the Pope.

  • The coefficient of rolling friction of a railroad train on a track is 0.009.


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • The rate of expansion per degree is called the Coefficient of Expansion.


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • This might be termed the Recognition, the other the Perception, coefficient.

British Dictionary definitions for coefficient


  1. maths
    1. a numerical or constant factor in an algebraic termthe coefficient of the term 3xyz is 3
    2. the product of all the factors of a term excluding one or more specified variablesthe coefficient of x in 3axyz is 3ayz
  2. physics a value that relates one physical quantity to another

Word Origin for coefficient

C17: from New Latin coefficiēns, from Latin co- together + efficere to effect
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 coefficient

also co-efficient, c.1600, from co- + efficient. Probably influenced by Modern Latin coefficiens, which was used in mathematics in 16c., introduced by French mathematician François Viète (1540-1603). As an adjective from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

coefficient in Medicine


  1. The mathematical expression of the amount or degree of any quality possessed by a substance, or of the degree of physical or chemical change normally occurring in that substance under stated conditions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

coefficient in Science


  1. A number or symbol multiplied with a variable or an unknown quantity in an algebraic term. For example, 4 is the coefficient in the term 4x, and x is the coefficient in x(a + b).
  2. A numerical measure of a physical or chemical property that is constant for a system under specified conditions. The speed of light in a vacuum, for example, is a constant.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.