In math, the squared price (2) is an arithmetic operator that signifies multiply a number by itself. The “square” the a number is the product the the number and itself. Multiplying a number by chin is called “squaring” the number. Squaring a number is a more specific circumstances of the basic exponentiation operation, exponentiation as soon as the exponent is 2. Squaring a number is the very same as increasing that number to the power of two. The square function (ƒ(x)=x2) is the station of the square root function (ƒ(x)=√x).

You are watching: What does x2 mean in math

Raising a number n come the strength of 2 is dubbed “squaring” because the result number n2 coincides to the area that a square v sides of length n. The square role is an extremely useful duty in algebra, trigonometry, and physics. In algebra, the square duty forms the backbone of some simplest kinds of polynomials (quadratics). In trigonometry, the square role is supplied to discover the equivalent angles and also side lengths that congruent triangles, a beneficial concept for modeling periodic phenomena. In physics, the square duty can be offered to compute distances between two point out (in the form of the Pythagorean theorem) and modeled phenomena frequently takes the mathematical type of a square function, particularly equations involving velocity and acceleration.

Squaring: The Basics

Squaring a number is simple: just multiply the number by itself: The symbol 32 just way 3×3. In general, for any number n:

n2 = × n

Further, the square role has the exciting property that putting in the additive inverse of n will offer you the exact same number: that is:

n2 = (−n)2

Strictly speaking, every confident number is the square of specifically two number, a positive and a an adverse number. 4 is the square that both 2 and also −2. A number the is the square the an essence is referred to as a perfect square. In general, the additional down the number heat one goes, the further and further spread out the circulation of perfects squares. This trend is due to the fact that the square role grows exponentially; i.e. Its rate of development is proportional come its present value.

The station of the square role is the square root function ƒ(x) = √x. The square source of a number is any a such that a2 = n. Due to the fact that both a number and its additive station square to obtain the same result, every confident real number has specifically 2 roots +√x and −√x, sometimes expressed as ±√x. In many context, “the square root” the a number refers simply to its positive root. The particular an interpretation of the square root function makes it so that no an adverse real number has a square root, as no number multiplied by itself will produce a negative number. An unfavorable numbers have square root in the complex number system, however not in the genuine number system.

A graph the the function x2 looks like:


Notice just how the graph is perfect mirrored along the vertical y-axis. The shape of the graph corresponds to the reality that every confident real number is the square that both a positive and an unfavorable number (except zero). As such, that is possible that a function in the general form of the square duty will not have any roots—there is no n such that ƒ(n) = 0. Visually, this means that part square functions will never cross the x-axis.

Use the The Square Function


The square function forms the backbone that a special class of polynomial equations called quadratic equations. A quadratic polynomial of degree 2: the is, any polynomial in the form:

ax2 + bx + c

Where a, b, and c space all real numbers and also a≠0. The terms a, b, and also c are dubbed the quadratic, linear, and constant coefficient, respectively. Quadratic equations can be factored to discover their roots—values that x for which the whole equation equals 0. Alternatively, one can use the quadratic equation to resolve for the root of a quadratic polynomial:


Quadratic equation are valuable for modeling motion, together the curve of sped up motion takes the kind of a square curve. If some motion has a constant rate the acceleration, then a graph the its movement will be a quadratic equation. The geometric shape of the quadratic role is called a parabola.


The square function has numerous uses in geometry. Most obviously, the square duty can be provided to discover the area of squares. It is a frequently known fact that the area of a square through sides that length n is same to n2. This follows from the equation for the area the a rectangle (and parallelograms an ext generally) where A = l×w. A square is just a rectangle whereby the length and also the width room the same. The truth that the area that a square is a square function explains a property around the growth of square area: the area square whose size is times longer has n2 much more area.

The area that a square through lengths 5. Credit: WikiCommons CC0 1.0

Squaring also is supplied to find distances between two point out in the context of the Pythagorean theorem. The Pythagorean theorem tells that the square the the sides of a right triangle (a triangle through a 90° angle) are equal to the square the the hypotenuse (a2+b2=c2). This formula can be supplied to compute the distance between the origin suggest of a coordinate-axis (0, 0) and also any arbitrary allude (x, y). One can attract a line expanding from the beginning point x units horizontally, climate a line prolonging from the point units vertically. The drawn shape will certainly be a appropriate triangle, and the distance in between the beginning (0, 0) and point (x, y) have the right to be calculated as the hypotenuse that a right triangle with side lengths x and y.

The Pythagorean theorem is a special case of the much more general parallelogram law that relates the length of the sides of a parallelogram to that diagonals: the parallelogram legislation states the the amount of the square of the lengths the the lengths of the 4 sides is equal to the amount of the square the the diagonals. To speak we have actually a parallelogram with sides AB, BC, CD, and DA and diagonals AC and also BD. The parallelogram law tells us that:

AB2+BC2+CD2+DA2 = AC2+BD2 

Since in a parallelogram, opposite political parties are, through definition, equal in lengths this equation can just it is in rewritten as:

2(AB)2+2(CD)2 = AC2+BD2 

The Pythagorean theorem drops out of this equation in the case of a rectangle, whereby the diagonals space equal lengths.


Squaring likewise pops increase in laws relating the lengths that the sides of a triangle come its angles, in the type of the law of cosines. Just put, the regulation of cosines claims that for a triangle with lengths a, b, and c and opposing angles A, B, and C:

c2= a² + b² – 2ab×cos(C)

The cosine law have the right to be rewritten to settle for each variable providing an equation through the precise same form, therefore the same equation will work for any side. The legislation of cosines allows you to recognize the other contents of a triangle if you understand the size of at the very least two sides and also one angle. The equation also simplifies to offer the Pythagorean theorem in the case of best triangles. In the case of ideal triangles, ∠C = 90, therefore cos(C) = 0. The rightmost part of the equation cancels out, and we room left with c2= a² + b²

In Physics

In physics, the square role often rears that head in the paper definition of equations the define the intensity of some physical amount as a function of distance. Because of the 3-D geometry of space, the strongness of any physical quantity that radiates external in a sphere around the source is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. This fact follows native the geometric law that the surface ar area that a round (4πr2) is straight proportional come the radius squared (r2) the the sphere.

For example, the pressure of gravity is an inverse square pressure as the stamin of the gravitational attraction between two body is directly proportional come the mass of those bodies and inversely proportional to the square that the distance in between those bodies. This is obvious in the mathematical type of Newton’s legislation of gravitation

Fg= G(m1×m2)/d2

where m1 and m2 space the masses that the bodies and also d is the distance in between their centers of gravity. Incidentally, the pressure of electrostatic attraction in between two bodies also takes the type of an inverse square law, and the measure intensity of light as measured native a point source.

See more: Can U Get A Piercing While Pregnant, Can Pregnant Women Get A Piercing

The square notation is also used to define units of measure in physics. For example, acceleration, the price of adjust of velocity, is measure in the unit m/s2. This can be read “meters per second per second.” If velocity is the readjust in distance through respect to time, then acceleration is the adjust in velocity v respect come time. Acceleration is a measure up of just how much velocity is transforming at each allude of motion. If mine acceleration is 6 m/s2, this way that mine velocity (m/s) is enhancing by 6 for every 2nd of motion, thus meters per second per second.