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[pol-uh-noh-mee-uh l] /ˌpɒl əˈnoʊ mi əl/
consisting of or characterized by two or more names or terms.
  1. (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: ax 2 + bx + c is a polynomial, where a, b, and c are constants and x is a variable.
  2. a similar expression in more than one variable, as 4 x 2 y 3 − 3 xy + 5 x + 7.
  3. Now Rare.. Also called multinomial. any expression consisting of the sum of two or more terms, as 4 x 3 + cos x.
a polynomial name or term.
Biology. a species name containing more than two terms.
1665-75; poly- + (bi)nomial Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for polynomial
  • The hat fills with words to warm a coder's heart: bubble sort, polynomial, integration.
  • These scientists used more than a third degree polynomial to fit the data.
  • If a simple polynomial is plotted out on a graph it forms a line.
  • Impressively, their algorithm works in polynomial time, which means that a solution can always be found reasonably quickly.
  • So the polynomial p and the exponential function are at a party.
  • In addition, there are a few important problems that gain a polynomial speedup.
  • For linear systems these errors will grow in a linear or maybe polynomial manner.
  • These scientists used more than a third degree polynomial to fit the data.
British Dictionary definitions for polynomial


of, consisting of, or referring to two or more names or terms
  1. a mathematical expression consisting of a sum of terms each of which is the product of a constant and one or more variables raised to a positive or zero integral power. For one variable, x, the general form is given by: a0xn + a1xn–1 + … + an–1x + an, where a0, a1, etc, are real numbers
  2. Also called multinomial. any mathematical expression consisting of the sum of a number of terms
(biology) a taxonomic name consisting of more than two terms, such as Parus major minor in which minor designates the subspecies
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 polynomial

1670s (n.), 1704 (adj.), irregularly formed from poly- + stem of binomial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polynomial in Science
An algebraic expression that is the sum of two or more monomials. The expressions x2 - 4 and 5x4 + 2x3 - x + 7 are both polynomials.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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polynomial in Technology

1. An arithmetic expression composed by summing multiples of powers of some variable.
P(x) = sum a_i x^i for i = 0 .. N
The multipliers, a_i, are known as "coefficients" and N, the highest power of x with a non-zero coefficient, is known as the "degree" of the polynomial. If N=0 then P(x) is constant, if N=1, P(x) is linear in x. N=2 gives a "quadratic" and N=3, a "cubic".
2. polynomial-time.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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