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absolute value, magnitude of a number or other mathematical expression disregarding its sign; thus, the absolute value is positive, whether the original expression is positive or negative. In symbols, if |a| denotes the absolute value of a number a, then |a| = a for a > 0 and |a| = −a for a < 0. For example, |7|= 7 since 7 > 0 and |−7| = −(−7), or |−7| = 7, since −7 < 0.
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absolute value[′ab·sə‚lüt ′val·yü]
Also known as magnitude.
For a real number, the number if it is nonnegative, and the negative of the number if it is negative. Also known as numerical value.
For a complex number, the square root of the sum of the squares of its real and imaginary parts. Also known as modulus.
The length of a vector, disregarding its direction; the square root of the sum of the squares of its orthogonal components.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.