/pol'euh noh"mee euhl/, adj.1. consisting of or characterized by two or more names or terms.n.2. Algebra.a. (in one variable) an expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms each of which is the product of a constant and a variable raised to an integral power: ax2 + bx + c is a polynomial, where a, b, and c are constants and x is a variable.b. a similar expression in more than one variable, as 4x2y3 - 3xy + 5x + 7.c. Now Rare. Also called multinomial. any expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms, as 4x3 + cos x.3. a polynomial name or term.4. Biol. a species name containing more than two terms.[1665-75; POLY- + (BI)NOMIAL]
* * *In algebra, an expression consisting of numbers and variables grouped according to certain patterns.Specifically, polynomials are sums of monomials of the form axn, where a (the coefficient) can be any real number and n (the degree) must be a whole number. A polynomial's degree is that of its monomial of highest degree. Like whole numbers, polynomials may be prime or factorable into products of primes. They may contain any number of variables, provided that the power of each variable is a nonnegative integer. They are the basis of algebraic equation solving. Setting a polynomial equal to zero results in a polynomial equation; equating it to a variable results in a polynomial function, a particularly useful tool in modeling physical situations. Polynomial equations and functions can be analyzed completely by methods of algebra and calculus. See also orthoganal polynomial.
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