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noun
1Mathematics
A numerical or constant quantity placed before and multiplying the variable in an algebraic expression (e.g. 4 in 4xy).- ‘The problem was to find the roots by adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and taking roots of expressions in the coefficients.’
- ‘Hermite had posed the problem of finding the minimal values of quadratic forms in n variables whose coefficients were real.’
- ‘He extended the applications of the operational method to linear ordinary differential equations with variable coefficients.’
- ‘The coefficients on the age variable in the models of organization-environment fit may then approach zero.’
- ‘Montel also investigated the relation between the coefficients of a polynomial and the location of its zeros in the complex plane.’
2Physics
A multiplier or factor that measures a particular property:‘the drag coefficient’- ‘This measure of a material's elasticity is called its coefficient of restitution.’
- ‘It follows that hydrophobic organic compounds have high adsorption coefficients and high bioaccumulation factors.’
- ‘Where can I get a list of friction coefficients for different materials?’
- ‘The drag coefficient combines several ballistic properties of typical projectiles.’
- ‘The shading coefficient is the measure of solar heat gain through the window.’
Origin
Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘cooperating to produce a result’): from modern Latin coefficient-, from com- together + efficient- accomplishing (see efficient).
Pronunciation
Further reading
6 punctuation marks you might be using incorrectly
Read moreWe take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.
An A-Z of country name origins
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