Your word for today is: algebra, n.

algebra, n.

[‘Surgical treatment of a fractured or dislocated bone. Also (as a count noun): a fracture or dislocation. Now

*hist.*and*rare*.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈaldʒᵻbrə/, U.S. /ˈældʒəbrə/

Forms: α. ME–

**algebra**, lME**algabra**. β. 15–16**algeber**, 16**algebre**. γ. 15**algiebar**.
Etymology: < post-classical Latin

*algebra*algebraic computation (12th or 13th cent.), surgical treatment of fractures (*c*1300) < Arabic*al-jabr*<*al*the +*jabr*restoration (of anything which is missing, lost, out of place, or lacking), reunion of broken parts, (hence specifically) surgical treatment of fractures <*jabara*to restore, to reunite, (hence specifically in a medical context) to set broken bones.
The Arabic term

Compare Middle French, French †

In β. forms probably after Middle French

In γ. forms apparently after the ulterior Arabic etymon.

The position of the stress probably varied in early use (compare the French parallel, which shows penultimate stress). The current first-syllable stress, exemplified e.g. in quot. 1663 at sense 2a, is attested from at least

*al-jabr*probably originally referred specifically to the method of solving quadratic equations by completing the square (see*to complete the square*at complete v. Additions). The term achieved currency through the title of the 9th-cent. mathematical treatise by al-Ḵwārizmī,*al-kitāb al-muḵtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wal-muqābala*‘The Concise Book on Calculation by Restoration and Compensation’. This work was partially translated into Latin by the British scholar Robert of Chester (fl. 12th cent.); shortly afterwards, the Italian scholar Gerard of Cremona (fl. late 12th cent.) made a second translation of it,*. For biographical information on al-Ḵwārizmī, see algorism n. The modern Arabic term denoting the branch of mathematics is*__De jebra et almucabola__*ʿilm al-jabr*.Compare Middle French, French †

*algebre*(now*algèbre*) (*a*1376 in an apparently isolated attestation, subsequently from 1554; 1546 in Rabelais as*algebra*, all denoting the branch of mathematics; 1611 in Cotgrave in an isolated attestation denoting the surgical treatment of fractures), Spanish*algebra*(*a*1450 denoting the surgical treatment of fractures, 1552 denoting the branch of mathematics), Portuguese*álgebra*(1519 denoting the branch of mathematics; 1712 in medical use), Italian*algebra*(1598 in Florio denoting the surgical treatment of fractures, 1606 denoting the branch of mathematics); also Middle Dutch, Dutch*algebra*(1460 in an isolated attestation denoting the surgical treatment of fractures, 1612 denoting the branch of mathematics), German*Algebra*(1460 in*puech algebra un almalcobula*lit. ‘book of algebra and almacabala’ as the title of a translation of al-Ḵwārizmī's mathematical treatise; 1489 as*algobre*, denoting the branch of mathematics). Compare almacabala n.In β. forms probably after Middle French

*algebre*; in the form*algeber*, the word was associated by early authors with*Geber*, the pseudonym of a 13th-cent. European alchemist (now called Pseudo-Geber) who wrote a number of treatises using the name of the 8th-cent. Arabic alchemist Jābir b. Ḥayyān (in Latinized form,*Geber*).In γ. forms apparently after the ulterior Arabic etymon.

The position of the stress probably varied in early use (compare the French parallel, which shows penultimate stress). The current first-syllable stress, exemplified e.g. in quot. 1663 at sense 2a, is attested from at least

*c*1600.**1.**Surgical treatment of a fractured or dislocated bone. Also (as a count noun): a fracture or dislocation Now

*hist.*and

*rare*.

*a*1400 tr. Lanfranc

*(Ashm. 1396) 63 Ne take noon hede to brynge togidere þe parties of þe boon þat is to-broken or dislocate til viij daies ben goon..þanne brynge togidere þe brynkis eiþer þe disiuncture after þe techynge þat schal be seid in þe chapitle of algebra.*

__Sci. Cirurgie__
?

*a*1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac*(N.Y. Acad. Med.) f. 1, Separate is ioyned in consolding wondes & in reducyng algebras.*__Grande Chirurgie__
?

*c*1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac*(Paris) f. 100, Algebra, þat is strecchinge oute or restorynge of broken bones and of bones out of ioynte.*__Grande Chirurgie__
?1541 R. Copland

*in*__Formularie of Helpes of Woundes & Sores__*sig. Xiij, The helpes of Algebra & of dislocations.*__Guy de Chauliac's Questyonary Cyrurgyens__
1999 L. H. Feldman

*22 The Royal Protomedicato, a board of licensed medical examiners,..was not established in Guatemala until 1793... Its jurisdiction covered the entire field of medicine—algebra (bone setting), midwifery, phlebotomy (bloodletting), surgery, and pharmacy.*__War against Epidemics Colonial Guatemala__**2.**

*Math.*

**a.**As a mass noun: (originally) the branch of mathematics in which letters are used to represent numbers in formulae and equations; (in later use more widely) that in which symbols are used to represent quantities, relations, operations, and other concepts, and operations may be applied only a finite number of times.

*abstract*,

*Boolean*,

*matrix*,

*quadruple*,

*tensor algebra*, etc.: see the first element

1551 R Record

*ii. Pref., Also the rule of false position, with dyuers examples not onely vulgar, but some appertaynyng to the rule of Algeber.*__Pathway to Knowl.__
1570 H. Billingsley in tr. Euclid

*x. Introd. f. 228*__Elements Geom.__^{v}, That more secret and subtill part of Arithmetike, commonly called Algebra.
1579 L. Digges & T. Digges

*55 This Art of Algebra or Rule of Cosse as the Italians terme it.*__Arithm. Mil. Treat.__
1612 B. Jonson

*i. i. sig. B*__Alchemist__^{v}, Your Alchemye, and your Algebra.
1663 S. Butler

*i. i. 10 And wisely tell what hour o' th' day The Clock does strike, by Algebra.*__Hudibras: First Pt.__
1709 S. Cobb tr. J. Alexander

*84 (*__Synopsis Algebra__*heading*) Linear Algebra in Order to the Geometric Construction of Equations.
1775 E. Burke

*6 A proportion..beyond all the powers of Algebra to equalize and settle.*__Speech Resol. for Concil. Colonies__
1782 W. Cowper

*in*__Conversation__*213 And if it weigh th' importance of a fly, The scales are false or Algebra a lie.*__Poems__
1844 W. Flagg

*12 Dec. in*__Let.__*(1986) 57 There are only 2 scholars that study Algebra... I did not like it very well.*__Flagg Corr.__
1860 J. L. Motley

*III. 102 Passionless as algebra.*__Hist. Netherlands__
1928 A. Huxley

*iv. 48 Arithmetic held a wild saturnalian kermesse; algebra cut capers.*__Point Counter Point__
1994 B. A. Staples

*viii. 122, I failed algebra and would spend the summer..sweating over equations.*__Parallel Time__
2007

*7 Dec. 1534/1 Algebra is a gateway course for high school mathematics; without mastering algebra, a college degree in science or engineering is impossible.*__Science__**b.**As a count noun: a set together with operations such as addition or multiplication, typically distinguished from other such systems by the choice of axioms;

*spec.*a ring (ring n.

^{1}15) that is also a vector space over a field of scalars and has the property that multiplication of an element by a scalar commutes with multiplication by another ring element, i.e. (

*ax*)

*y*=

*a*(

*xy*), where

*a*is a scalar and

*x*and

*y*are elements of the ring.

*Banach*,

*Lie algebra*, etc.: see the first element.

1854 G. Boole

*ii. 37 Let us conceive, then, of an Algebra in which the symbols*__Investig. Laws Thought__*x*,*y*,*z*, &c. admit indifferently of the values 0 and 1, and of these values alone.
1870 B. Pierce

*21 This is quite an important limitation, and the algebras which are subject to it will be called associative.*__Linear Associative Algebra__
1914

__Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.__**15**162 In discussing primitive algebras we may without any real loss of generality assume that any element commutative with every other element of the algebra is a scalar, i.e., an element of the field*F*.
1956 R. H. Atkin

*iii. 76 As in all algebras we find it convenient to introduce two identity operators.*__Math. & Wave Mech.__
1963 G. F. Simmons

*xii. 303 A*__Introd. Topol. & Mod. Anal.__*C**-algebra with the further property of being closed in the weak operator topology is called a*W**-algebra. Algebras of this kind are also called rings of operators, or von Neumann algebras.
2010 J. J. Rotman

*(ed. 2) vi. 484 The tensor product of algebras is an ‘honest’ construction.*__Adv. Mod. Algebra__**3.**In extended use and

*fig*Something, esp. a system or process, that resembles algebra in substituting one thing for another, or in using symbols, signs, etc., to represent ideas and concepts. Cf. grammar n. 6a.

1663 W. Clark

*ii. i. 13 Fly! Fly! avaunt with that base cowardly gibbrish; That Algebra of honour.*__Marciano__*a*1721 M Prior

*(1907) 233 Egad Simile is the very Algebra of Discourse.*

__Dialogues of Dead: Locke & Montaigne__
1831

__Blackwood's Edinb. Mag.__**29**509/1 Our modern*costumiers*take measure by algebra, and cut out by diagrams.
1929

*July 221/1 Every free-lance ought to know at least the commonest of these symbols in the algebra of publication.*__Writer__
1937 A. Huxley

*6 Dec. (1969) 428, A very remarkable man called Sheldon, a psychologist... [who] seems..to have evolved a genuine algebra in terms of which to discuss the problem [*__Let.__*sc.*of psychological types].
1990

*Nov. 97/1 The novel algebra of their fields describes our world quite well, abuzz with diverse particles as it is.*__Sci. Amer.__
2005

*(Nexis) 25 Feb. 44, I wondered: Was there some emotional algebra to this music that, once understood, would unlock a new landscape of meaning?*__LA Weekly__
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