[muhl-tuh-pli-key-shuh n]
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  1. the act or process of multiplying or the state of being multiplied.
  2. Arithmetic. a mathematical operation, symbolized by a × b, a ⋅ b, a ∗ b, or ab, and signifying, when a and b are positive integers, that a is to be added to itself as many times as there are units in b; the addition of a number to itself as often as is indicated by another number, as in 2×3 or 5×10.
  3. Mathematics. any generalization of this operation applicable to numbers other than integers, as fractions or irrational numbers.

Origin of multiplication

1350–1400; Middle English multiplicacio(u)n < Latin multiplicātiōn- (stem of multiplicātiō). See multi-, plication
Related formsmul·ti·pli·ca·tion·al, adjectivenon·mul·ti·pli·ca·tion, nounnon·mul·ti·pli·ca·tion·al, adjectiveo·ver·mul·ti·pli·ca·tion, nounre·mul·ti·pli·ca·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for multiplication


  1. an arithmetical operation, defined initially in terms of repeated addition, usually written a  ×  b, a.b, or ab, by which the product of two quantities is calculated: to multiply a by positive integral b is to add a to itself b times. Multiplication by fractions can then be defined in the light of the associative and commutative properties; multiplication by 1/ n is equivalent to multiplication by 1 followed by division by n: for example 0.3 × 0.7 = 0.3 × 7/10 = (0.3 × 7)/10 = 2 1/10 = 0.21
  2. the act of multiplying or state of being multiplied
  3. the act or process in animals, plants, or people of reproducing or breeding
Derived Formsmultiplicational, adjective
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 multiplication

mid-14c., from Old French multiplicacion (12c.) "multiplication, duplication; multiplicity, diversity," from Latin multiplicationem (nominative multiplicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of multiplicare (see multiply). Mathematical sense is attested from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

multiplication in Medicine


  1. The act or process of multiplying or the condition of being multiplied.
  2. Propagation of plants and animals; procreation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

multiplication in Science


  1. A mathematical operation performed on a pair of numbers in order to derive a third number called a product. For positive integers, multiplication consists of adding a number (the multiplicand) to itself a specified number of times. Thus multiplying 6 by 3 means adding 6 to itself three times. The operation of multiplication is extended to other real numbers according to the rules governing the multiplicative properties of positive integers.
  2. Any of certain analogous operations involving mathematical objects other than numbers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.