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Absolute Value

Absolute value makes a negative number positive. Positive numbers and 0 are left unchanged. The absolute value of x is written |x|. We write |–6| = 6 and |8| = 8.

Formally, the absolute value of a number is the distance between the number and the origin. This is a much more powerful definition than the "makes a negative number positive" idea. It connects the notion of absolute value to the absolute value of a complex number and the magnitude of a vector.

 

See also

Absolute value rules

 


  this page updated 21-feb-16
Mathwords: Terms and Formulas from Algebra I to Calculus
written, illustrated, and webmastered by Bruce Simmons
NCTM Web Bytes December 2004 Web Bytes March 2005 Web Bytes