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1550s, from Medieval Latin algebra, from Arabic al jebr "reunion of broken parts," as in computation, used 9c. by Baghdad mathematician Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi as the title of his famous treatise on equations ("Kitab al-Jabr w'al-Muqabala" "Rules of Reintegration and Reduction"), which also introduced Arabic numerals to the West. The accent shifted 17c. from second syllable to first. The word was used in English 15c.-16c. to mean "bone-setting," probably from Arab medical men in Spain.
A branch of mathematics in which symbols, usually letters of the alphabet, represent numbers or quantities and express general relationships that hold for all members of a specified set.
|linear algebra |
The branch of mathematics that deals with the theory of systems of linear equations, matrices, vector spaces, and linear transformations.