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[dih-skrim-uh-nuh nt] /dɪˈskrɪm ə nənt/
noun, Mathematics
a relatively simple expression that determines some of the properties, as the nature of the roots, of a given equation or function.
1830-40; < Latin discrīminant- (stem of discrīmināns) separating, present participle of discrīmināre to divide up, separate, verbal derivative of discrīmen, stem discrīmin- separating line, distinction, equivalent to discrī-, variant stem of discernere (see discern) + -men noun suffix; see -ant
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[dis-krim-uh-nan-tl] /dɪsˌkrɪm əˈnæn tl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for discriminant


an algebraic expression related to the coefficients of a polynomial equation whose value gives information about the roots of the polynomial: b² – 4ac is the discriminant of ax² + bx + c = 0
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for discriminant

in mathematics, a parameter of an object or system calculated as an aid to its classification or solution. In the case of a quadratic equation ax2+bx+c=0, the discriminant is b24ac; for a cubic equation x3+ax2+bx+c=0, the discriminant is a2b2+18abc4b34a3c27c2. The roots of a quadratic or cubic equation with real coefficients are real and distinct if the discriminant is positive, are real with at least two equal if the discriminant is zero, and include a conjugate pair of complex roots if the discriminant is negative. A discriminant can be found for the general quadratic, or conic, equation ax2+bxy+cy2+dx+ey+f=0; it indicates whether the conic represented is an ellipse, a hyperbola, or a parabola.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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