Cite
 

subtraction

subtraction, fundamental operation of arithmetic the inverse of addition. If a and b are real numbers (see number ), 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, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Mathematics

Browse by Subject

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.