Children's Math Dictionary: Math Terms Defined for Kids

Although there are a number of published math dictionaries that your child could use as a resource, he or she might benefit more from creating his or her own dictionary. Read on for some tips on building a personal math dictionary, as well as some sample vocabulary words for elementary math students.

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How To Create a Math Dictionary

Although vocabulary instruction isn't often associated with math, learning math terms can aid in communication between students and teachers. For example, if your child doesn't know the meaning of divisor, dividend and quotient, his or her teacher might find it difficult to teach division. A store-bought math dictionary can help your child learn and understand math terms; however, creating his or her own resource might better ensure that the concepts and definitions are stored in your child's long-term memory.

To help your child create a math dictionary, have her save a few pages in the back of her math notebook where she can write down terms that she comes across during class time or in her textbook. Encourage her to write definitions in her own words, rather than copying them from the textbook. Also, have her draw a picture or include an example since it may be easier for your child to understand a concept by seeing it, rather than reading about it.

Additionally, instead of listing math terms alphabetically, have your child group them by concept. For instance, the terms 'numerator' and 'denominator' wouldn't be next to each other in a typical dictionary, but it makes sense for them to be grouped together in a math dictionary since they both relate to fractions.

Common Elementary Math Terms


Even numbers
Numbers that can be divided by two. For instance, two, four, six and eight are even numbers.
Odd numbers
Numbers that can't be divided by two. You might have your child think of odd numbers as the opposite of even numbers. Examples are one, three, five, seven and nine.


The number that's on the top of a fraction. For instance, in the fraction 2/4, two is the numerator. It indicates parts of the whole.
The number on the bottom of a fraction. For instance, in the fraction 2/4, four is the denominator. It indicates the whole that the parts are divided into.


Acute angle
An angle that measures less than 90 degrees. Your child might remember this term by thinking of it as 'a cute angle' because it's small.
Right angle
An angle that measures exactly 90 degrees.
Obtuse angle
An angle larger than 90 degrees. Your child can think of it as the opposite of an acute angle.
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