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Alternative formsEdit


1580s; From mathematic (noun) +‎ -ics,[1] from Middle English mathematique, methametik, matematik, matamatik, from Old French mathematique, from Latin mathēmatica (mathematics), from Ancient Greek μαθηματικός (mathēmatikós, on the matter of that which is learned), from μάθημα (máthēma, knowledge, study, learning). Displaced native Old English rīmcræft.


  • IPA(key): /mæθ(ə)ˈmætɪks/
  • (file)


mathematics (uncountable)

  1. An abstract representational system used in the study of numbers, shapes, structure, change and the relationships between these concepts.
    • 1992 March 2, Richard Preston, The New Yorker, "The Mountains of Pi":
      Looking at the Leibniz series, you feel the independence of mathematics from human culture. Surely, on any world that knows pi the Leibniz series will also be known... Nilakantha, an astronomer, grammarian, and mathematician who lived on the Kerala coast of India, described the formula in Sanskrit poetry around the year 1500.
    • 2002, Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice?: The New Mathematics of Chaos, page 38
      The answer is 'yes', and the mathematics needed is the theory of probability and its applied cousin, statistics.
  2. A person's ability to count, calculate, and use different systems of mathematics at differing levels.
    My mathematics is always improving.

Usage notesEdit

  • Mathematics was previously seen as a plural, but this usage is obsolete.
    • "… Artificers, to whom the Practical Mathematics are of great and immediate Uſe." A System of Practical Mathematics - John Potter, 1753
    • "Mathematics are based on arithmatic[sic], algebra and geometry, and are either pure or mixed." - The teacher's assistant in the "Course of mathematics adapted to the method of instruction in the American colleges - Jeremiah Day, 1836
    • "Now the mathematics are peculiarly well adapted for this purpose, … " - Library of Useful Knowledge - Mathematics - Baldwin and Cradock, London, 1836
    • "Mathematics are also distinguished into Theoretical, or Speculative, and Practical, …" A new and easy Introduction to the Mathematics - Ira Wanzer, 1831


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


  • Welsh: mathemateg


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “mathematics”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further readingEdit