What Does "n" Mean in Math?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 27, 2020 8:10:56 PM ET

In mathematical operations, "n" is a variable, and it is often found in equations for accounting, physics and arithmetic sequences. A variable is a letter or symbol that stands for a number and is used in mathematical expressions and equations.


In an arithmetic sequence, which is a list of numbers that follow a pattern, "n" is a variable representing the number of the term to find. For instance, if students want to find the value of the seventh term, "n" would be 7.

In physics, an equation for standing waves uses "n" as an integer symbolizing the harmonic number or number of antinodes. The equation evaluates the length of the string in terms of its wavelength.

In accounting, "n" is used in the equation for compound interest. It represents the number of compoundings in 1 year.