Algebra Vocabulary Definitions

Algebra Vocabulary Definitions

Students need to know certain algebra vocabulary definitions. This is a key issue that hurts a student’s chance for passing algebra. There are several misunderstandings about algebra vocabulary. The following list are the major areas of concern that if a student knows these definitions it will ensure that they can pass algebra.


A Polynomial is an algebra expression with more than two terms. Examples of Polynomials include: x^2 - 4*x + 1 and x^3 + 7

x^2 + 23 and x + 5. Polynomials are defined by their order or degree which is the highest power of x present in the polynomial.

A polynomial of zero order or degree 0 is simply a constant number. A polynomial of the first order or degree 1 is a linear equation (containing only x to the first power) such as y = ax + b where a and b are constants. A polynomial of the second order or degree 2 is a quadratic equation (containing only x to the first and second powers) such as ax^2+ bx + c where a, b and c are constants.

More Algebra Vocabulary Definitions


Quadrants are the result of dividing the Coordinate Plane into four equal parts. You can think of the Coordinate Plane as being represented by a pie cut into four equal pieces. The Northeast piece is referred to as Quadrant I or Q1. The Northwest piece is referred to as Quadrant II or Q2. the Southwest piece is referred to as Quadrant III or Q3. The Southeast piece is referred to as Quadrant IV or Q4. So the four Quadrants of the Coordinate Plane proceed counterclockwise from Q1 to Q4.

Quadratic Equations

Quadratic Equations, sometimes referred to as Quadratic Functions, are polynomials of the second order that contain only x to the first and second power and have a general form of ax^2+ bx + c = 0 where a, b and c are constants.

Range (Y-values)

The range of a function consists of all real values of y that result when the domain values of x are substituted for x in the function.

Algebra Vocabulary Definitions - Polynomials

Roots of a Polynomial

A solution to an algebra equation in which a polynomial equals zero is called a root of the polynomial. The root of a polynomial is sometimes referred to as a zero of the polynomial. The roots or the solutions are the x-Intercepts of the polynomial. The number of roots represents how many times the graph of a polynomial intersects the X-axis of a coordinate plane.

Scientific Notation

Scientific Notation is a method of representing very large and very small numbers as a product of the number multiplied by a power of 10. For example, the number 1,000 in Scientific Notation is 1.0 * 10^3 and the number 0.001 in Scientific Notation is 1.0 * 10^-3.

Solving Quadratic Equations

A Quadratic Equation is an algebra equation of the general form ax^2+ bx + c = 0 where a, b and c are constants. There are three main methods of solving quadratic equations: 1) Factoring; 2) Completing the Square; and 3) using the Quadratic Formula.

Square Root

The square root of a given number is the unique number that when raised to the 2nd power (multiplied by itself) will equal the original given number.

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