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scalar

[skey-ler] /ˈskeɪ lər/
adjective
1.
representable by position on a scale or line; having only magnitude:
a scalar variable.
2.
of, relating to, or utilizing a scalar.
3.
ladderlike in arrangement or organization; graduated:
a scalar structure for promoting personnel.
noun
4.
Mathematics, Physics. a quantity possessing only magnitude.
Compare vector (def 1a).
Origin
1650-1660
1650-60; < Latin scālāris of a ladder. See scale3, -ar1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for scalar
  • Dialing down the scalar field to zero everywhere would essentially flatten the universe.
  • On the other hand, tensor is the generalization of scalar and vector.
  • Even thermodynamics is a vector of a scalar activity.
  • Similar to temperature, which is the scalar level of activity, time is the sequencing of change wrought by motion.
  • Let and be vectors with components and let t be a scalar.
British Dictionary definitions for scalar

scalar

/ˈskeɪlə/
noun
1.
a quantity, such as time or temperature, that has magnitude but not direction Compare vector (sense 1), tensor (sense 2), pseudoscalar, pseudovector
2.
(maths) an element of a field associated with a vector space
adjective
3.
having magnitude but not direction
Word Origin
C17 (meaning: resembling a ladder): from Latin scālāris, from scāla ladder
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 scalar
adj.

"resembling a ladder," 1650s, from Latin scalaris "of or pertaining to a ladder," from scalae (plural) "ladder, steps, flight of steps" (see scale (n.2)). Mathematical sense first recorded 1846.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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scalar in Science
scalar
  (skā'lər)   
A quantity, such as mass, length, or speed, whose only property is magnitude; a number. Compare vector.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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scalar in Technology


1. A single number, as opposed to a vector or matrix of numbers. Thus, for example, "scalar multiplication" refers to the operation of multiplying one number (one scalar) by another and is used to contrast this with "matrix multiplication" etc.
2. In a parallel processor or vector processor, the "scalar processor" handles all the sequential operations - those which cannot be parallelised or vectorised.
See also superscalar.
3. Any data type that stores a single value (e.g. a number or Boolean), as opposed to an aggregate data type that has many elements. A string is regarded as a scalar in some languages (e.g. Perl) and a vector of characters in others (e.g. C).
(2002-06-12)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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