noun, plural in·dex·es, in·di·ces [in-duh-seez] /ˈɪn dəˌsiz/.
- a value that identifies and is used to locate a particular element within a data array or table.
- a reference table that contains the keys or references needed to address data items.
- an exponent.
- the integer n in a radical defining the n-th root: ∛ is a radical having index three.
- a subscript or superscript indicating the position of an object in a series of similar objects, as the subscripts 1, 2, and 3 in the series x1, x2, x3.
- winding number.
- a table of contents.
- a preface or prologue.
verb (used with object)
Origin of index
noun plural -dexes or -dices (-dɪˌsiːz)
- another name for exponent (def. 4)
- a number or variable placed as a superscript to the left of a radical sign indicating by its value the root to be extracted, as in ³√8 = 2
- a subscript or superscript to the right of a variable to express a set of variables, as in using x i for x 1, x 2, x 3, etc
Word Origin for index
"compile an index," 1720, from index (n.). Related: Indexed; indexing.
late 14c., "the forefinger," from Latin index (genitive indicis) "forefinger, pointer, sign, list," literally "anything which points out," from indicare "point out" (see indication). Meaning "list of a book's contents" is first attested 1570s, from Latin phrases such as Index Nominum "Index of Names," index expurgatorius "specification of passages to be deleted from works otherwise permitted." Scientific sense (refractive index, etc.) is from 1829; economic sense (cost-of-living index, etc.) is from 1870, from the scientific usage, from sense "an indicator." The Church sense of "forbidden books" is from index librorum prohibitorum, first published 1564 by authority of Pius IV.
n. pl. in•dex•es
An alphabetical list of subjects treated in a book. It usually appears at the end of the book and identifies page numbers on which information about each subject appears.