BASIC ALGEBRA GLOSSARY
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Title  Description  

Sample  When we Sample a population we typically seek a representative Sample. 

Sample Space  We often use Sample Space to designate all the possibilities of potential outcomes for an event or process. 

Scalar  A value with unit of size (magnitude) and no direction is termed a Scalar. Contrast with a vector that has both magnitude and direction; a Scalar has magnitude but no direction. 

Scalene  A triangle is considered Scalene if no two sides have the same length. 

Scatterplot  A planar plot of points from two variables with each point representative of a datum from both variables, most often with some relation or correlation. 

Scientific Notation  Scientific Notation is an easy way to represent either very large numbers or very small numbers. Large numbers are expressed with positive powers of ten; small numbers are expressed with negative powers of ten. Such numbers often represent physical quantities or values that would be inconvenient or cumbersome to write with typical decimal representations. 

Second, Degree  While "second degree" applies to a polynomial, a single Second with respect to Degree measure is onesixtieth of one minute, or one sixtieth of one sixtieth of one degree, or 1/1,296,000 of a revolution. 

Second, Time  One sixtieth of a minute, or 1/3600 of an hour, is one Second of Time. 

SecondOrder Polynomial  A polynomial in which the highestorder term is of order two. The highest power in secondorder univariate (one variable) polynomial is two; the degree of such a polynomial is degree two. 

Segment, Circle  A portion of a circle bounded by a chord and the circle itself. 

Segment, Line  A Line Segment is a set of collinear points bounded on both ends with, literally, endpoints. 

Semicircle  Half a circle; the portion of a circle on one side of a diameter. 

Series  Most often a sequence of terms to be summed. Informally, any sequence of terms may be a Series. 

Set  Any collection of objects or values is considered a Set, whose cardinal number is the number of objects in the Set. 

Set Intersection  The Intersection of two (or more) Sets is the subset common to both (or all) Sets. Logically, the Intersection of two Sets A and B is literally the Set of "A and B." 

Set Union  The Union of two (or more) Sets is the Set that contains both (or all) Sets. Logically, the Union of two Sets A and B is the Set of elements contained in either Set A or B, literally "A or B." 

Sigma  The 18th letter of the Greek alphabet, uppercase sigma is used for summation notation, lowercase Sigma often denotes a standard deviation in statistics. 

Significant Digits  Informally, Digits that are not zero. Slightly more formally, nonzero Digits as well as zeros between nonzero Digits. Strictly, the number of Digits required to express a calculated value to within the reasonable tolerance or uncertainty of calculation. 

Simple Closed Curve  A planar figure that neither crosses itself or contains a gap is a Simple Closed Curve; note that a curve can be "straight" according to the mathematicians. 

Simple Harmonic Motion  Periodic Motion with constant length of cycle time (a fixed period) is termed Simple Harmonic Motion. 

Simplify  To express (or rewrite) in more concise terms. To make simpler. 

Simultaneous Equations  Equations with common solutions are Simultaneous Equations. Also, equivalent equalities (statements with equal signs) may be termed Simultaneous Equations. 

Skew  Lines neither intersecting nor parallel (noncoplanar lines) are termed Skew lines. 

Slope  A number associated with a line graphed in a plane, Slope is the ratio of rise over run, an indication of the steepness of the line. We may write a line as y = mx + b and use the value of m for Slope. 

SlopeIntercept Equation of a Line  The familiar y = mx + b, where m represents Slope and b is the yIntercept. 

Solid  A threedimensional geometric figure or body that includes the interior region. 

Solution  Too often in math class, "the answer." More directly, a Solution is a value (or set of values) that makes a mathematical statement true. 

Solution Set  Strictly, any Solution is a Solution Set, the value(s) that make a mathematical statement true. 

Speed  A (typically fixed) ratio of length or distance to a unit of time; Speed is a scalar value, as in miles per hour (mph) or feet per second (fps). 

Sphere  A threedimensional figure comprised of points equidistant from a center point; a Sphere has a fixed radius. 

Square  1 (noun)  the regular quadrilateral that is both equilateral and equiangular. 2 (noun)  the result of multiplying a number times itself. 3 (verb)  the operation of multiplying a number times itself; equivalently raising it to second power, or to the exponent 2. 

Square Matrix  A Square Matrix has the same number of rows as columns. 

Square Root  Given a real value, the number that times itself (squared) produces the given value.  
SSS Congruence  Two triangles whose corresponding sides are congruent are themselves congruent. 

Standard Equation of a Line  When expressing the Equation of a Line with integral coefficients we may have the Standard Equation of a Line. 

Standard Position  An angle in Standard Position has been rotated counterclockwise (for positive rotation) from an initial ray on the positive xaxis. 

StemandLeaf Plot  A graphical device to group statistical data, typically by leading digits. 

Step Function  A discontinuous Function where the range jumps in increments (usually fixed) may be a Step Function. 

Straight Angle  An angle of 180 degrees or pi radians. 

Strict Inequality  A Strict Inequality is an inequality that does not include an "or equal to...". Strict inequality only apply to unequal values, as one is either greater than (>) or less than (<) the other. 

Subset  Every set is a Subset of itself. A Subset has elements all contained in a "parent" set. 

Subtraction  The operation we begin thinking of as "take away" or "minus" is a way to find the difference between values. 

Sum  The result of addition. 

Symmetry  Having a like but reversed profile or image (a mirror image) about a line is having the quality of Symmetry about the axis (of Symmetry). 

System of Equations  Most generally simultaneous Equations, or a set of Equations with identical variables. 
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