square root

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See also: square-root

English[edit]

Noun[edit]

square root (plural square roots)

  1. (mathematics) The number which, when squared, yields another number.
    The square roots of 4 are 2 and -2, the square root of 0 is 0, and the square roots of -4 are 2i and -2i.
  2. (mathematics) The positive number which, when squared, yields another number; the principal square root.
    The square root of 4 is 2. No negative square roots exist. Negative numbers have no square roots.

Usage notes[edit]

Even in mathematical contexts, square root generally means positive square root. If there is a chance of ambiguity, prefer constructions like a square root or a complex square root to indicate the first definition, or the positive square root or similar to indicate the second sense.

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