A Journey Through Math: Exploring Mathematics Vocabulary in English

Bodhi Ramos7 min
Created: May 9th, 2023Last updated: May 10th, 2023
Math Terms in English

Learning English goes beyond mastering grammar and vocabulary – it’s also about exploring different subject areas and their unique lingo. Mathematics is no exception, with its distinct terms that can be intriguing and challenging for English learners. The good news is that with some dedicated practice and guidance, you can master this complex knowledge domain and improve your fluency. This article will delve into mathematics and popular math terms in English. We’ll look at everything from basic operations to more advanced concepts.

Basic Operations: Arithmetic Vocabulary

Arithmetic operations are the foundation of mathematics and involve fundamental concepts. Such terms come up frequently in day-to-day life, like when we pay for something at a store or split a bill with friends. Here are some essential mathematical words with definitions:

  • Addition [əˈdɪʃən] – adding numbers together.
  • Subtraction [səbˈtrækʃən] – taking one number away from another.
  • Multiplication [ˌmʌltəplɪˈkeɪʃən] – combining numbers to find their total value.
  • Division [dɪˈvɪʒən] – splitting numbers into equal parts.

These terms are essential for performing basic calculations and are helpful in everyday life. For example, you can use mathematical vocabulary to solve problems related to money, time, and dimensions.

Exploring Geometry: Math Terms Related to Shapes and Measurements

Geometry is the study of shapes, sizes, and properties. English learners may encounter these terms in various contexts, such as when discussing architecture, design, or everyday objects. The following are some common mathematics words related to geometry:

  • Point [pɔɪnt] – a location in space with no size or dimensions.
  • Line [laɪn] – a straight or curved path that extends infinitely in both directions. 
  • Angle [ˈæŋɡəl] – the space between two intersecting lines or surfaces, measured in degrees.
  • Triangle [ˈtraɪæŋɡəl] – a three-sided polygon with different types of angles and sides. 
  • Square [skwɛər] – a four-sided polygon with equal sides and right angles. 
  • Rectangle [rɛkˈtæŋɡəl] – a four-sided polygon with two pairs of equal sides and right angles.
  • Circle [ˈsɜrkəl] – a round shape in which every point on its boundary is equidistant from the center. 
  • Sphere [sfɪər] – a three-dimensional shape in which every point on its surface is equidistant from the center. 
  • Cube [kjuːb] – a three-dimensional shape with six equal square sides. 
  • Perimeter [pəˈrɪmɪtər] – the total length of a shape’s sides. 
  • Area [ˈɛəriə] – the amount of space inside a flat shape, measured in square units. 
  • Volume [ˈvɒl.jum] – the amount of space inside a three-dimensional shape, measured in cubic units.

As you navigate the world of geometry, you’ll find that this mathematical word list is crucial. They help define shapes and sizes, enabling us to calculate distance or area.

Algebra and Beyond: Delving into Advanced Mathematical Concepts

Ready for another challenge? Let’s jump into the exciting realm of algebra, dealing with variables, equations, and functions. Algebra allows us to solve problems using letters and symbols instead of numbers. Here is a list of math vocabulary words to help you get a handle on this branch of mathematics:

  • Variable [ˈveəriəbl] – a symbol, typically a letter, represents an unknown value.
  • Equation [ɪˈkweɪʒən] – a mathematical statement that shows the equality of two expressions.
  • Constant [ˈkɒnstənt] – a fixed value that does not change.
  • Coefficient [ˌkoʊəˈfɪʃənt] – a number that multiplies a variable in an algebraic expression.
  • Polynomial [ˌpɒlɪˈnoʊmiəl] – an algebraic expression composed of a sum of terms, each term containing a variable raised to a whole number power.
  • Function [ˈfʌŋkʃən] – a relation between a set of inputs and a set of possible outputs, with the property that each input is related to exactly one output.
  • Derivative [dɪˈrɪvətɪv] – the rate at which a function changes regarding its input. 
  • Integral [ˈɪntɪɡrəl] – a measure of the area under the curve of a function.
  • Matrix [ˈmeɪtrɪks] – a rectangular array of numbers or variables arranged in rows and columns.
  • Vector [ˈvɛktər] – a quantity with both magnitude and direction, often represented by an arrow in space.

From variables to derivatives, algebraic terms can sometimes seem intimidating. However, understanding these mathematical concepts is essential for solving complex problems and real-world applications.


Tackling Real-Life Use: Vocabulary Related to Everyday Math

Mathematics plays a significant role in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. From budgeting to cooking, we often use math-related vocabulary in various contexts. Here’s a list of math terms that can help you navigate everyday situations:

  • Fraction [ˈfrækʃən] – a part of a whole, expressed as a ratio of the numerator (the top number) to the denominator (the bottom number).
  • Decimal [ˈdɛsɪməl] – a number expressed using a decimal point to show values smaller than one, based on tenths, hundredths, and so on.
  • Percent [pərˈsent] – a ratio that compares a number to 100, often used to express proportions, discounts, or growth.
  • Ratio [ˈreɪʃioʊ] – a comparison of two quantities, often used to express proportions, rates, or scale.

Understanding these simple math terms will enable you to tackle real-life situations easily. You’ll be able to engage in conversations about various topics, from cooking recipes to travel plans, and feel more confident in your mathematical abilities.

Tips and Strategies for Learning Mathematical Terms

Mathematics can be challenging, especially when learning a new language. However, with the right approach and a positive attitude, you can confidently master math vocabulary in English. Here are some tips and strategies to help you on your journey:

  • Practice with real-life examples. Try to apply vocabulary words for mathematics to actual situations. For example, you can use percentages when calculating discounts or apply measurement units when following a recipe. This will help you understand the relevance of math vocabulary and make learning more enjoyable.
  • Engage in conversations. Practice using math vocabulary in communication with native speakers or fellow learners. Discuss topics that interest you, such as personal finance, sports statistics, or your favorite recipes. This will help you feel more comfortable using new terms and strengthen your language skills.
  • Watch educational videos. Visual aids can help understand complex math concepts. Pay close attention to the vocabulary used in educational videos that explain various arithmetic topics. You can also pause and replay sections to ensure you fully grasp the content.
  • Seek additional resources. Use math textbooks, websites, or apps designed for English learners to familiarize themselves with mathematical terms and concepts. For instance, the Promova app provides interactive quizzes, listening activities, and vocabulary lists. 

Remember that using diverse examples and practicing conversations while incorporating visual aids is crucial for keeping your study enjoyable.

Master Maths Terminology with Promova

Are you struggling with math terminology while studying in English? Don’t worry; Promova has got your back! Our language learning platform offers a range of tools and resources to help you master mathematical terms quickly, efficiently, and confidently. So you can learn English online from the comfort of your home without worrying about missing out on any essential concepts. 

Our language courses include specific modules that teach vocabulary related to various popular subjects. In addition, you will have access to numerous quizzes, interactive exercises, and listening activities that help you learn and practice new words in English. The app provides all materials on the go so that you can study anytime, anywhere.

In addition to our platform’s courses and resources, Promova offers personalized online classes with certified tutors who will cater to your needs and learning style. They will ensure your lessons are engaging, interactive, and easy to follow.


Mathematics is a fascinating and essential subject encompassing diverse concepts, from basic arithmetic to advanced algebra. Understanding math terms in English can improve your fluency and enable you to tackle various real-life situations comfortably. Start with the basics and then move on to more advanced concepts, engaging in conversations and practicing with real examples. Utilize interactive resources, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering math language words in no time!


If I don’t plan to study or work in a math-related field, is learning math terms in English necessary?

Learning words in maths in English can still be beneficial even if you don’t plan to study or work in a math-related field. Basic math terminology is helpful in everyday situations, such as calculating bills, comparing prices, or understanding data in news articles.

Can learning math terms help improve my overall English proficiency?

Of course! Learning math terms in English can enhance your proficiency by expanding your vocabulary and helping you communicate more effectively in diverse subject areas: from talking about money and measurements to describing geometric shapes or solving advanced algebraic equations.

Are there any math-specific idioms or expressions?

Yes, many math-specific expressions or idioms related to mathematics. For instance, “do the math” means carefully considering and analyzing a situation and calculating its outcome. Another example is “zero in on something,” which means focusing on a particular point, just like how the number zero is the center of the number line.

What resources are available for learning math terms in English?

There are many resources you can use to learn math terms in English. Online video tutorials, dictionaries, and quizzes can all help you get to grips with the vocabulary of mathematics. For instance, Math is Fun is an excellent website for learners of all levels. Cambridge Dictionary can also be helpful for looking up math vocabulary in context.


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