# degree of freedom

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## degree of freedom

*n.*

*pl.*

**degrees of freedom**

**1.**

*Statistics*Any of the unrestricted, independent random variables that constitute a statistic.

**2.**

*Physics*

**a.**Any of the minimum number of coordinates required to specify completely the motion of a mechanical system.

**b.**Any of the independent thermodynamic variables, such as pressure, temperature, or composition, required to specify a system with a given number of phases and components.

## degree of freedom

*n*

**1.**(General Physics)

*physics*one of the minimum number of parameters necessary to describe a state or property of a system

**2.**(General Physics) one of the independent components of motion (translation, vibration, and rotation) of an atom or molecule

**3.**(Chemistry)

*chem*one of a number of intensive properties that can be independently varied without changing the number of phases in a system. See also phase rule

**4.**(Statistics)

*statistics*one of the independent unrestricted random variables constituting a statistic

## degree′ of free′dom

*n.*

**1.**any of the statistically independent values of a sample that are used to determine a property of the sample, as the mean or variance.

**2.**any of the independent variables required to specify the energy of a molecule or atom.

[1900–05]

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Noun | 1. | degree of freedom - (statistics) an unrestricted variable in a frequency distributionvariable quantity, variable - a quantity that can assume any of a set of values statistics - a branch of applied mathematics concerned with the collection and interpretation of quantitative data and the use of probability theory to estimate population parameters |

2. | degree of freedom - one of the minimum number of parameters needed to describe the state of a physical systemparameter, parametric quantity - a constant in the equation of a curve that can be varied to yield a family of similar curves |

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