Term
Pronunciation: /tɜrm/ Explain
A term is a part of an
expression
that is separated from other terms by addition or subtraction. A term consists of a
coefficient and zero or more variables.
Terms are
enumerated
(counted) from left to right.
Constant Term
A
constant term in an expression is a term without any variables.
In the expression
3x^{2}+5x-2, the
constant
term is
-2.
Like Terms
Two terms are like terms if they have the same
variable(s)
and each variable has the same
exponent.
3x^{2} is like
5x^{2} because the variable x
is both, and the exponent of x is 2
in both.
Understanding Check
- Are the terms 2b and 0.5b
like terms?
Yes.
Correct. Since both terms contain the variable b and the exponent (an implied 1) is the same in both, they are like terms.
No.
Incorrect. Since both terms contain the variable b and the exponent (an implied 1) is the same in both, they are like terms.
- Are the terms 3y^{2} and 3y^{3}
like terms?
Yes.
Incorrect. While both terms contain the variable y, in the first term the y is squared and in the second term the y is cubed. The exponents are different so the terms are not like terms.
No.
Correct. While both terms contain the variable y, in the first term the y is squared and in the second term the y is cubed. The exponents are different so the terms are not like terms.
- Are the terms 3y and 3
like terms?
Yes.
Incorrect. Both terms do not have the variable y in them, so they can not be like terms.
No.
Correct. Both terms do not have the variable y in them, so they can not be like terms.
- Are the terms 2 and 7
like terms?
Yes.
Correct. Neither term has a variable, so they are like terms.
No.
Incorrect. Neither term has a variable, so they are like terms.
- Are the terms xy and 12xy
like terms?
Yes.
Correct. Both terms have variables x and y. Both variables have an implied exponent of 1.
No.
Incorrect. Both terms have variables x and y. Both variables have an implied exponent of 1.
- Are the terms 2xy^{2} and 4xy
like terms?
Yes.
Incorrect. In term 1, the exponent of the variable y is 2. In term 2, the implied exponent is 1. Since the exponents are different, the terms are not like terms.
No.
Correct. In term 1, the exponent of the variable y is 2. In term 2, the implied exponent is 1. Since the exponents are different, the terms are not like terms.
Cite this article as:
McAdams, David E. Term. 5/5/2011. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/t/term.html.
Image Credits
Revision History
1/30/2009: Added constant term. (
McAdams, David E.)
11/27/2008: Added parts of a term. (
McAdams, David E.)
5/20/2008: Added enumeration of terms, like terms, and 'More Information'. (
McAdams, David E.)
7/11/2007: Initial version. (
McAdams, David E.)