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[koh-uh-fish-uh nt] /ˌkoʊ əˈfɪʃ ənt/
Mathematics. a number or quantity placed (generally) before and multiplying another quantity, as 3 in the expression 3x.
Physics. a number that is constant for a given substance, body, or process under certain specified conditions, serving as a measure of one of its properties:
coefficient of friction.
acting in consort; cooperating.
Origin of coefficient
1655-65; < New Latin coefficient- (stem of coefficiēns). See co-, efficient
Related forms
coefficiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for coefficient
Historical Examples
  • On the average of many cases the mean "nature" value, the coefficient of direct heredity, was placed at .51.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • You're referring to the necessity for a coefficient of discharge.

    Houlihan's Equation Walt Sheldon
  • These conditions permit the most exact determination of the coefficient of discharge.

  • "Clear it ov its coefficient, and we'll thry," says the Pope.

  • In order to express such relationship in a single figure the coefficient or correlation is used.

    How to Teach George Drayton Strayer and Naomi Norsworthy
  • The coefficient of rolling friction of a railroad train on a track is 0.009.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • The glyph itself is on the left and the coefficient, here expressed by a head variant, is on the right.

  • The rate of expansion per degree is called the coefficient of Expansion.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • Then among the foothills of the Sierras at Colfax, the coefficient drops till it is scarcely larger than the probable error.

    Climatic Changes Ellsworth Huntington
  • Here is a very close relation, but, the sign of the coefficient is negative.

    The Social Direction of Evolution William E. Kellicott
British Dictionary definitions for coefficient


  1. a numerical or constant factor in an algebraic term: the coefficient of the term 3xyz is 3
  2. the product of all the factors of a term excluding one or more specified variables: the coefficient of x in 3axyz is 3ayz
(physics) a value that relates one physical quantity to another
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin coefficiēns, from Latin co- together + efficere to effect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coefficient

also co-efficient, c.1600, from co- + efficient. Probably influenced by Modern Latin coefficiens, which was used in mathematics in 16c., introduced by French mathematician François Viète (1540-1603). As an adjective from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coefficient in Medicine

coefficient co·ef·fi·cient (kō'ə-fĭsh'ənt)
The mathematical expression of the amount or degree of any quality possessed by a substance, or of the degree of physical or chemical change normally occurring in that substance under stated conditions.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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coefficient in Science
  1. A number or symbol multiplied with a variable or an unknown quantity in an algebraic term. For example, 4 is the coefficient in the term 4x, and x is the coefficient in x(a + b).

  2. A numerical measure of a physical or chemical property that is constant for a system under specified conditions. The speed of light in a vacuum, for example, is a constant.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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