Term (mathematics)

mathematical expression that may form a separable part of an equation, a series, or another expression; used in in mathematical logic, universal algebra, and rewriting systems

A term is a mathematical expression.



In elementary mathematics, a term is either a single number or variable, or the product of several numbers or variables. Terms are separated by a + or - sign in an overall expression. For example, in

3 + 4x + 5yzw

3, 4x, and 5yzw are three separate terms.

In the context of polynomials, term can mean a monomial with a coefficient. To combine like terms in a polynomial is to make it a linear combination of distinct monomials. For example,

3x + 2x2 + 5x + 1 = 2x2 + (3+5)x + 1 = 2x2 + 8x + 1, with like terms collected.

A series is often represented as the sum of a sequence of terms.

In general mathematical use, however, term is not limited to additive expressions. Individual factors in an expression representing a product are multiplicative terms. Indeed, individual elements of any mathematical expression may be referred to as "terms".

In logic, a term is a collection of symbols used to represent a mathematical object (rather than a mathematical statement). A basic term is either a constant or a variable, while more complex terms can also be built using operators (such as the term  ). To refer to a term, variables such as   and   are often used.[1]

In informal logic, a term can also refer to the subject or predicate of a statement.[2]

Specific names for terms

Addition and Subtraction
  • Addend
  • Subtrahend and minuend the first and second terms, respectively, in subtraction
Factor. In a multiplication of two factors, the first is called the multiplicand and the second is called the multiplier.
Divisions and Fractions
The top of a division is called the numerator (or dividend), and the bottom is called the denominator (or divisor).
Term Value
The value of the term such as the term value of 8a, if a=1, is 8.




  1. "Comprehensive List of Logic Symbols". Math Vault. 2020-04-06. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  2. "Term | logic". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-10-09.