Dependent Variable

Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛn dənt ˈvɛər i ə bəl/ ?

A dependent variable is a variable whose value depends entirely on other variables.[1] In functions, the dependent variable is the output variable. The independent variable's value is the input on which the dependent variable depends.

Graph of f(x)=x^2
Figure 1 - Graph of f(x) = x2.

In figure 1, f(x) = x2, the output variable is f(x). One can tell which is the output variable because it is by itself on one side of the equation.

Cricket Population
Year1992199419961998
Population2053174027412286
Figure 2: Table representing a function.

The table in figure 2 represents a function. The independent variable is year. This is because the year exists independently of the cricket population, and the cricket population is dependent on the year. The cricket population is the dependent variable.

References

  1. dependent variable. merriam-webster.com. Encyclopedia Britannica. (Accessed: 2010-01-22). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dependent variable.
  2. Bettinger, Alvin K. and Englund, John A.. Algebra and Trigonometry, pp 53-54. International Textbook Company, January 1963. (Accessed: 2010-01-22). http://www.archive.org/stream/algebraandtrigon033520mbp#page/n70/mode/1up/search/dependent.
  3. Long, Edith and Breknke, W. C.. Algebra, first course, pg 208. The Century Co., 1913. (Accessed: 2010-01-22). http://www.archive.org/stream/algebrafirstcour00longrich#page/208/mode/1up/search/dependent.

More Information

  • McAdams, David. Function. allmathwords.org. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 2010-01-22. http://www.allmathwords.org/article.aspx?lang=en&id=Function.
  • McAdams, David. Independent Variable. allmathwords.org. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 2010-01-22. http://www.allmathwords.org/article.aspx?lang=en&id=Independent%20Variable.
  • McAdams, David. Variable. allmathwords.org. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 2010-01-22. http://www.allmathwords.org/article.aspx?lang=en&id=Variable.

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Dependent Variable. 2010-01-22. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/d/dependentvariable.html.

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2007-07-12: Initial version (McAdams, David.)

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