Can You Ace This Math Vocabulary Quiz?



By: Jenna M.

6 Min Quiz

Image: gremlin/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

One of the benefits of majoring in math is the lack of reading and writing papers, right? WRONG! Math has its own language and it is important to be fluent in it if you plan to ace every test! Knowing your math vocabulary is half the battle when deciding what formula to use to get the correct answer. What's even more important to note is that everyday words can have a completely different meaning when they are connected to math. This is a major reason to refresh your math vocabulary! 

Now, taking a course in math vocabulary may not be as creative or elegant as a course in creative writing or persuasive speech, but it is nonetheless important for a mathematician! From algebra to combinatorics, math vocabulary can get pretty extensive. Even the most strait-laced students can get a little fuzzy when recalling words they do not see or use every day. This is why studying your math vocabulary can have its benefits! Put yourself to the test and refresh your math vocabulary. You might be surprised at what you get, you could be the next Carl Gauss (one of the greatest mathematicians in history)! Or a mathematician vocabulary connoisseur in the making. 

What are numbers without a fractional part called?

Integers are numbers without fractions, which is why they are known as whole numbers. Pi, for example, is not an integer, because it is 3.14 and not 3 or 4. Most people just call integers numbers, which includes negative numbers.


What is an arithmetic mean?

An arithmetic mean is the "average" of a set of numerical values. We typically learn this as "average" instead of "mean" in elementary school, adding up all the numbers in a set and dividing by the set of numbers to determine the average.


What is the term used to describe a set of instructions used to solve a problem?

Although the word "algorithm" can be used to describe the process of solving math equations or any other set of instructions, we often hear it now with regard to advertising on our social media. Have you seen people complain about the "Facebook algorithm" when they see unwanted ads? That's because Facebook is looking at all your interactions and demographics and making decisions about what to show you.


What is the term used to describe the vertex at the tip of a cone or pyramid?

The pyramid is a three-dimensional shape. A triangle is its two-dimensional analogue, similar to how a sphere is the three-dimensional version of a circle and a cube is that of a square.


What is the term used to describe something exactly equal in size and shape?

Congruent means exactly the same or identical. In geometry, congruent figures are identical, although you may see some tricky iterations like mirror images, making congruent figures *seem* incongruent.


What word is use to describe the distance around the outside of a circle?

In order to determine circumference, you would use the formula 2πr. That means that if you multiply the radius of the circle by 2 and by the number pi, you'll know how far around it is.


What is the term used in reference to the equation relating the sines of the interior angles of a triangle and the corresponding opposite sides?

The Law of Sines is a trigonometric term that describes how angles relate to the opposite sides of a triangle. Committing these laws to memory will help you if you're studying precalc or calculus! It is described as follows: a/sin A = b/sin B = c/sin C


Half the difference between the minimum and maximum values of the range is called what?

Amplitude can be a confusing term, because we often think of "amp" as related to making things louder, or amplify. In fact, amplitude simply describes how far a wave ranges in distance from zero.


What do you call the horizontal line drawn as part of a fraction or radical?

Here's a word you probably never thought you'd need to know! Vinculum is just a line, but it's a very particular sort of line: one that indicates that an operation beneath it needs to be done altogether or that the items below it are a unit.


What are ordinal numbers?

Ordinal numbers go ... you guessed it ... in order! Cardinal numbers are just positive integers, beginning with zero. Of course, math has many words to describe the same idea ... or maybe that's an English problem!


What term describes the center of a triangle?

Every triangle has three "medians" that are straight lines from the vertex, or meeting point of two lines, to the midpoint of the opposite side. Where all three medians intersect is the centroid.


What term describes a ring-shaped object bounded by two concentric circles?

An annulus is just the math term for a ring. If you subtract the area of the open space from the area of the entire circle, you can figure out the area of the ring itself. Seems scary, but t's actually pretty approachable!


What is the mathematical meaning of "solid"?

The word "solid" in geometry is just another way to say three-dimensional, like a cube or rectangular prism. Don't worry, that doesn't mean that two-dimensional shapes are liquids, gases or vapors.


What term is described as a "three-dimensional figure with a single base tapering to an apex"?

Think about an ice cream cone: unlike other geometric figures, it tapers to an end that you need to get to before the ice cream makes it soggy. We'd have a major mess if we were served ice cream in edible cylinders instead!


This term describes something being limitless or endless in space.

If you really think about it, Buzz Lightyear's "To infinity ... and beyond" is impossible, because infinity is our definition for the most beyond — infinity is as far as it goes.


Which term describes a curve similar to the sine function?

A sinusoid is defined as a curve similar to the sine function, but shifted either in phase, amplitude, period or some combination of these. We're just glad it's not related to stuffy noses and headaches.


What is used to measure angles?

A radian is a seriously intense concept. You know what a radius is, right? Imaging lying the length of the radius along the circumference of the circle. The angle those two lines create is called the "radian." 3.4 radians = 180 degrees, which is a half-circle. Is your mind blown yet?


Select the term that defines a number that has to be multiplied times itself three times to equal a given number.

The cube root of 8 is 2. How do you get that? Divide 8 by 2: 4. Then divide it by 2 again: 2! Cubes are created when we multiply a number by itself and then by itself again: 2 x 2 x 2 = 8, so 2 cubed = 8, and the cube root is the opposite operation, making the cube root of 8 = 2.


Which term defines the number that is used to multiply a variable or powers of variables in an algebraic expression?

A coefficient is defined as the number multiplied by a variable in an algebraic expression. An example of this would be the 2 in the equation 2x + 5 =11. In this equation, x = 3, so 2 x 3 = 6, and 6 + 5 = 11.


What is the term used to describe how far a number is from zero?

Absolute value describes how far any number is from zero, whether that number is positive or negative. So absolute value is always a positive value, although — surprise! — it can also equal zero.


The bottom part of a fraction is called what?

The denominator is what is being divided. In the equation 56 / 8 = 7, the divisor is 8, which means that you have 56 of something and you're splitting it into groups of 8. You end up with 7 groups of 8 (or 8 groups of 7, if 7 is the divisor).


What term describes a line with zero slope?

A horizontal line runs from left to right without going up or down, so it has zero slope. You probably don't want your life to have zero slope, because nothing would ever change!


A number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integers is called what?

A real number that can't be made by dividing two integers is known as an irrational number. Have you heard of the number e. That's one. So is pi! On the other hand, 1/3, which is a never-ending decimal, is a rational number because it can be expressed with a fraction.


What is a hexagon?

A hexagon is a six-sided polygon. Examples of hexagons are all around us and include honeycomb, stop signs, and even fly eyes! Other polygons are as simple as squares and as complicated as the chiliagon, which has 1,000 sides!


What is an Isosceles triangle?

In an isosceles triangle, the angles opposite the equal sides are also equal. Other types of triangles are equilateral, which has three equal sides, and scalene, which has no equal sides at all.


What is the definition of proportion?

If someone paints your portrait, you might want them to create a proportional piece of art: in other words, not a caricature where your head is much larger than any other body part.


Which of the following answers defines "square root"?

Just like a cube is a number multiplied by itself two times, a square is a number multiplied by itself one time. So 2 squared is 4, and therefore the inverse, or square root, of 4 = 2. What's the square root of 16? How about 144?


Which term defines "Graphical representation of the relationship between two numerical sets of data"?

A scatterplot takes a set of data and plots each point on a plane without drawing any lines between them. Therefore the viewer can see each element and draw their own conclusions about relationships between the data points.


The distance across a circle is called what?

The diameter measures the distance from one side of a circle to the other. The diameter is double the radius. Fun fact: Pi is equal to a circle's circumference divided by its diameter, although, spoiler, the result will always be 3.14!


What does PEMDAS mean?

PEMDAS might be something you learned as a kid. It helps you remember the order of operations and when to do what: Start with parentheses, then exponents, multiplication and division, and finally addition and subtraction.


Which term defines the study of sound reasoning?

Logic looks for consistency and validity in its results. If you've seen geometric proofs, they're using mathematical logic to offer evidence and reasoning. It's another way of "showing your work."


What is the definition of an acute angle?

An acute angle is less than 90°. All triangles have a total of 180° in their three angles. A triangle may have three 60° angles, making it equilateral, or it may have angles of different sizes.


What is the definition of arc?

An arc is any portion besides the entire curve of the circumference of a circle. A chord is a line inside the circle whose endpoints touch the circle, making the diameter the longest chord in any circle.


Which term describes a model that uses bars to represent quantities, known or unknown, and the relationship between them.

A bar model offers a visual representation to show the relationship between quantities. For example, you might see bars of different sizes with numbers in them to help teach algebra. If you saw a large bar that said 16 and a smaller bar that said 3x, you would surmise that x is less than 6. If you saw equal bars that said 18 and 3x, you would surmise that x = 6.


What term is defined as a single object, the lowest counting number?

One may be the loneliest number, but we learn all about "one" early. It's the first number most of us learn, and the first math concept we learn, often before we can even string words together!


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