a mathematical function or mapping for which every element of the image space is a value for some members of the domain See also injection (sense 5), bijection
Derived Forms
surjective, adjective
Word Origin
C20: from sur-1 + -jection, on the model of projection
mathematics A function f : A -> B is surjective or onto or a surjection if f A = B. I.e. f can return any value in B. This means that its image is its codomain. Only surjections have right inverses, f' : B -> A where f (f' x) = x since if f were not a surjection there would be elements of B for which f' was not defined. See also bijection, injection. (1995-05-27)