Some arguments of common mathematical functions have names, like addend, minuend, subtrahend, dividend, divisor, numerator, denominator, and radicand.

A colleague recently asked me: does the argument of the absolute-value function have its own name of this sort?


1 Answer 1


As stated on this webpage and on this one the absolute value of a number is its modulus and the symbol |x| is referred to as "modulus x".

This can be confusing because modulus is used in computing for the remainder of division, that is the result of the modulo function where the result ignores the number of times the divisor goes into the numerator. In computing these functions are usually called by using something like MOD(x,y) and ABS(x) but in maths |x| is called the modulus of x.

  • 2
    The *output* absval of x, |x|, can be called "[the ]modulus[ of] x" but that doesn't say what x itself should be termed with respect to the operation (or if even there is something to designate the object 'x' as the operand of | |). Only for nonnegative real values of x is the modulus_of x equal to [the input value ]x.
    – 11qq00
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 7:12
  • As @11qq00 correctly says, I am looking for a name for the input, not the output, of the absolute-value function.
    – LSpice
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 11:01

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