## associativeDescriptive of a rule in mathematics in which the result of two or more operations does not depend on the order in which the operations are carried out. Three numbers, x, y, and z, are said to be associative
under addition if x + (y + z) = (x + y)
+ z
and to be associative under multiplication if x × (y × z) = (x × y) × z
In general, three elements a, b, and c of a set S are associative under the binary operation (an operation that works
on two elements at a time) * if a * (b * c) = (a * b)
* c
The word incorporates the Greek root soci, from which we also get
"social," and may have been first used in the modern mathematical sense
by William Hamilton around 1850. Compare
with distributive and commutative. ## Related category• ALGEBRA | |||||

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