# subtraction

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## subtraction,

fundamental operation of arithmetic; the inverse of addition. If*a*and

*b*are real numbers (see number

**number,**

entity describing the magnitude or position of a mathematical object or extensions of these concepts.

**The Natural Numbers**

Cardinal numbers describe the size of a collection of objects; two such collections have the same (cardinal) number of objects if their

**.....**Click the link for more information. ), then the number

*a*−

*b*is that number (called the difference) which when added to

*b*(the subtractor) equals

*a*(the subtrahend). In terms of addition the symbol −

*b*is called the additive inverse of

*b*with the property that the sum of a number and its inverse equals 0, or

*b*+(−

*b*)=0. It follows that −(−

*b*)=

*b.*The subtraction of

*b*from

*a*is the same as the addition of

*a*and the inverse of

*b,*or

*a*−

*b*=

*a*+(−

*b*); e.g., when

*a*=10 and

*b*=5, then 10−5=10+(−5).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

## subtraction

[səb′trak·shən] (mathematics)

The addition of one quantity with the negative of another; in a system with an additive operation this is formally the sum of one element with the additive inverse of another.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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