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Answered By: Sara Stambaugh, Digital Services Librarian
Last Updated: May 27, 2016     Views: 34

A polynomial is a mathematical expression involving a sum of powers of variables with coefficients.  I'll give you several examples and then some examples that are NOT polynomials.  The ^ indicates the exponent, in other words x^2 reads as x squared or x to the power 2.

Polynomials:

3x^2+5x-1

4x^5+8x^3+12x^2+8x

5x^3-1

It doesn't matter how many terms there are (poly means many, but there can be only a single term too)

More Polynomials:

2x^3

10x

x

7

Things with a variable in the denominator or a variable in the exponent are NOT polynomials:

1/x

(2+x)/(x^2-4)

3^x

I hope this helps!