Pronunciation: /ˌrɛ.prɪˈzɛnt/ Explain

To represent something means using a symbol to stand for something else. In math, we use various characters to stand for something else. Here is a table of some common representations in math:

RepresentationWhat it means
π This represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
A variable (a, b, c, …; A, B, C, …) A variable represents a quantity which is unknown or can change (can vary).
9 / 3 An improper fraction can be a representation of a whole number. In this case, 9 / 3 is the same as the whole number 3.
arbitrary graphA graph can be used to represent a function.
Sales1032010450 10210
A table can be used to represent a function.

We use representations in algebra so the same symbol always means the same thing, and so we can write about a concept without a lot of words.


  1. McAdams, David E.. All Math Words Dictionary, represent. 2nd Classroom edition 20150108-4799968. pg 155. Life is a Story Problem LLC. January 8, 2015. Buy the book

More Information

  • McAdams, David E.. Model. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 3/12/2009.

Educator Resources

  • Representation. NASA LaRC Office of Education. 2/18/2010.

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Represent. 5/3/2019. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

Image Credits

Revision History

5/3/2019: Changed equations and expressions to new format. (McAdams, David E.)
12/21/2018: Reviewed and corrected IPA pronunication. (McAdams, David E.)
12/5/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup. (McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

All Math Words Encyclopedia is a service of Life is a Story Problem LLC.
Copyright © 2018 Life is a Story Problem LLC. All rights reserved.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License