identity element

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identity element

n.
The element of a set of numbers that when combined with another number in a particular operation leaves that number unchanged. For example, 0 is the identity element under addition for the real numbers, since if a is any real number, a + 0 = 0 + a = a. Similarly, 1 is the identity element under multiplication for the real numbers, since a × 1 = 1 × a = a. Also called unity.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.identity element - an operator that leaves unchanged the element on which it operates; "the identity under numerical multiplication is 1"
operator - (mathematics) a symbol or function representing a mathematical operation
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