# exponent

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## exponent,

in mathematics, a number, letter, or algebraic expression written above and to the right of another number, letter, or expression called the base. In the expressions x2 and xn, the number 2 and the letter n are the exponents respectively of the base x. The exponent indicates the power to which the base is to be raised. When exponents were first introduced, only positive whole numbers were used, and the exponent indicated how many times the base was to be taken as a factor; e.g., 25=32, or 2·2·2·2·2=32. In advanced algebra, fractions, zero, and negative numbers are also used as exponents. Particular meanings have been assigned to these types of exponents so that they obey the same algebraic rules as does the simpler type of exponent. A fractional exponent such as 1-4 or 1/n indicates the fourth or nth rootroot,
in mathematics, number or quantity r for which an equation f(r)=0 holds true, where f is some function. If f is a polynomial, r is called a root of f; for example, r=3 and r
, respectively, of the base. Any nonzero quantity raised to the zero power equals one; e.g., x0=50=(a2+b2)0=1. A negative exponent indicates the reciprocal of the quantity; e.g., x−2 means 1/x2. When quantities of the same base are multiplied together, their exponents are added; e.g., x2·x3=x5. Note that the base must be the same. When a quantity already containing an exponent is raised to a power, the exponents are multiplied; e.g., (x2)3=x6.

## exponent

[ik′spō·nənt]
(mathematics)
A number or symbol placed to the right and above some given mathematical expression.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

## exponent

Maths a number or variable placed as a superscript to the right of another number or quantity indicating the number of times the number or quantity is to be multiplied by itself
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

## exponent

(programming)
(Or "characteristic") The part of a floating-point number specifying the power of ten by which the mantissa should be multiplied. In the common notation, e.g. 3.1E8, the exponent is 8.