[ pol-uh-noh-mee-uh l ]
/ ˌpɒl əˈnoʊ mi əl /


consisting of or characterized by two or more names or terms.


  1. (in one variable) an expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms each of which is the product of a constant and a variable raised to an integral power: ax2 + bx + c is a polynomial, where a, b, and c are constants and x is a variable.
  2. a similar expression in more than one variable, as 4x2y3 − 3xy + 5x + 7.
  3. Now Rare.Also called multinomial. any expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms, as 4x3 + cos x.
a polynomial name or term.
Biology. a species name containing more than two terms.



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Origin of polynomial

First recorded in 1665–75; poly- + (bi)nomial
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for polynomial

British Dictionary definitions for polynomial

/ (ˌpɒlɪˈnəʊmɪəl) /


of, consisting of, or referring to two or more names or terms


  1. a mathematical expression consisting of a sum of terms each of which is the product of a constant and one or more variables raised to a positive or zero integral power. For one variable, x, the general form is given by: a 0 x n + a 1 x n –1 + … + a n –1 x + a n, where a 0, a 1, etc, are real numbers
  2. Also called: multinomial any mathematical expression consisting of the sum of a number of terms
biology a taxonomic name consisting of more than two terms, such as Parus major minor in which minor designates the subspecies
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

Scientific definitions for polynomial

[ pŏl′ē-nōmē-əl ]

An algebraic expression that is the sum of two or more monomials. The expressions x2 - 4 and 5x4 + 2x3 - x + 7 are both polynomials.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.