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This article is about quadratic equations and solutions. For more general information about quadratic functions, see Quadratic function. For more information about quadratic polynomials, see Quadratic polynomial.
In mathematics, a quadratic equation is a univariate polynomial equation of the second degree. A general quadratic equation can be written in the form
where x represents a variable or an unknown, and a, b, and c are constants with a ≠ 0. (If a = 0, the equation is a linear equation.)
The constants a, b, and c are called respectively, the quadratic coefficient, the linear coefficient and the constant term or free term. The term "quadratic" comes from quadratus, which is the Latin word for "square". Quadratic equations can be solved by factoring, completing the square, graphing, Newton's method, and using the quadratic formula (given below).
In the above formula, the expression underneath the square root sign is called the discriminant of the quadratic equation, and is often represented using an upper case D or an upper case Greek delta, the initial of the Greek word Διακρίνουσα, Diakrínousa, discriminant:
\Delta = b^2 - 4ac.\,
A quadratic equation with real coefficients can have either one or two distinct real roots, or two distinct complex roots. In this case the discriminant determines the number and nature of the roots. There are three cases:
If the discriminant is positive, then there are two distinct roots, both of which are real numbers:
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