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1. Maths
a. a numerical or constant factor in an algebraic term
b. the product of all the factors of a term excluding one or more specified variables
2. Physics a value that relates one physical quantity to another
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a numerical factor in a literal expression, a known multiplier of an unknown quantity of any degree, or a constant multiplier of a variable quantity. Thus, in the monomial −¾ a2b3 the coefficient is −¾; in the equation x2 + 2px + q = 0 the coefficient of x2 is 1 and the coefficient of x is 2p; and in the formula for the circumference of a circle l = 2πr the coefficient is 2π. In the equation for a straight line y = kx + b, the number k, which expresses the tangent of the angle that the line makes with the Ox axis, is known as the slope. Many of the coefficients in formulas expressing physical laws have special names, for example, the coefficient of friction and the coefficient of light absorption.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A factor in a product.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
It reportedly has a coefficient of thermal conductivity at least 5 to 50 times greater than many types of inorganic fillers.

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