1. A branch of mathematics in which symbols, usually letters of the alphabet, represent numbers or members of a specified set and are used to represent quantities and to express general relationships that hold for all members of the set.
2. A set together with a pair of binary operations defined on the set. Usually, the set and the operations simultaneously form both a ring and a module.
[Middle English, bone-setting, and Italian, algebra, both from Medieval Latin, from Arabic al-jabr (wa-l-muqābala), the restoration (and the compensation), addition (and subtraction) : al-, the + jabr, bone-setting, restoration (from jabara, to set (bones), force, restore; see gpr in the Appendix of Semitic roots).]
al′ge·braist (-brāĭst) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.