Definition of subtraction in US English:



  • 1The process or skill of taking one number or amount away from another.

    ‘subtraction of this figure from the total’
    • ‘In the spirit of deliberative democracy, revisions, refinements, additions, subtractions, and criticisms of this model are all welcome.’
    • ‘Mechanical calculators, unable to guess, plod through repeated subtractions.’
    • ‘In addition to reporting one's income and deductions, everyone would be required to report his additions to or subtractions from capital assets (including cash) over the year.’
    • ‘Page by page, they put it in the right order and made the relevant additions and subtractions until perfection was attained.’
    • ‘After taking an inordinate amount of time to make the few simple subtractions they finally discovered that Colin was the loser.’
    • ‘Another method that many shoppers used to decide between two options was to calculate the price differential, a procedure that requires just two subtractions.’
    • ‘Each president has, indeed, done some re-juggling, making one or two subtractions, or more often, adding new offices - some of which may become part of that continuing inheritance.’
    • ‘Give him a six row figure containing both additions and subtractions and he will come up with the answer within the blink of an eye.’
    • ‘These additions and subtractions show us things were clearly changing.’
    • ‘Roman numerals are fine for recording numbers, and for doing simple additions and subtractions, which meant they were adequate, if somewhat cumbersome, for commerce and trade.’
    • ‘It's closely followed by ‘cosmetic recontouring’, which straightens crooked teeth with a few additions and subtractions.’
    • ‘It is important that leaders of organisations have the skills to make additions and subtractions.’
    • ‘Apart from additions and subtractions, they also multiply, divide, calculate square roots, etc, all in a matter of seconds.’
    • ‘They were all excited doing their addition, subtractions, multiplications and divisions, mentally and with abacus.’
    • ‘Of course the problem which arises when one tries to consider zero and negatives as numbers is how they interact in regard to the operations of arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.’
    • ‘The stats used for the game are from the 15th of January and since then there have been some additions or subtractions to every team.’
    • ‘But worse than that, the very laws that existed under the Crown Colony system are the ones that still apply today, save for a few subtractions and some additions.’
    • ‘There were no additions or subtractions to the poll.’
    • ‘You do not need to ask my permission for reproducing this article in any or offline forum, as long as it is complete, without any changes, subtractions, or additions.’
    • ‘The digital flux that frames our experience of physical and socio-political realities functions through continuous additions, subtractions, and disappearances.’
    taking away, taking off, withdrawal, abstraction, removal, debit, docking, discounting
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    1. 1.1Mathematics The process of taking a matrix, vector, or other quantity away from another under specific rules to obtain the difference.
      • ‘‘The Analytical Method of vector addition and subtraction uses vector components,’ I reminded Mr. Shah.’
      • ‘The processing can be extremely fast, requiring only the time to record a patch from a camera and then carry out the subtraction and a single matrix multiplication.’
      • ‘Intensities of the scanned bands were quantitated by volume integration after background subtraction.’
      • ‘Difference spectra were calculated by subtraction of the spectrum of the DNA from the spectra of the peptide-DNA complexes.’
      • ‘If the spectra are dominated by fluctuation of the motor charges, subtraction of two spectra obtained at different pipette potentials should have a similar relaxation time.’