Mathwords Website Poster Image




Math dictionary defines, leaves deeper questions unanswered.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn formal meanings for a huge number of mathematical terms from algebra through calculus. Since most entries raise more questions than they answer, kids will need a strong foundation before using this resource. Expanded definitions with better examples and diagrams would make a significant difference in overall quality. Mathwords suffers from a traditional dictionary concept and undeveloped content. 

Positive messages

This resource is great for kids who want to stay familiar with terms and formulas: they're all in one spot. Understanding the sometimes-scary math vocabulary is a big part of keeping up.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable

There are dynamic banner and column ads.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mathwords is a math dictionary organized in three ways that gives kids formal definitions of math terms with little to no elaboration, sparse or indiscernable examples, and dynamic, non-kid level ads (for stuff you've been looking at online, from Pottery Barn to real estate).

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Mathwords defines about 2000 mathematic terms plus a few from physics, finance, and modeling. There are four ways to search: A to Z, full list, subject areas, and Google-powered web search. Most definitions contain multiple references to other terms plus either diagrams or examples, but only a few have textual explanations, for example, arctan. About 20 terms are accompanied by a dynamic diagram from McGraw-Hill's Geometer's Sketchpad. About 36 terms populate a real-world application list.

Is it any good?


Mathwords's accurate definitions could be useful for advanced students who just need a nudge to remember a particular aspect of a term, but kids needing a bit more hand holding who will likely be stymied. Definitions are overly concise, contain a plethora of references, and assume basic foundational understandings. For instance, the entry for three dimensional space never uses the terms height, width, or depth though it does refer to three-dimensional coordinates. Textual explanations are rare and more attention is paid to "formal" meanings than making the material clear, especially to kids who are already having a hard time. And most examples, if present, are actually diagram images pixelated beyond recognition.

About twenty terms are accompanied by a cool JavaSketchPad, QuickTime, or LiveGraphics3D-based dynamic diagram from McGraw-Hill's Geometer's Sketchpad, but even these lack sufficient labels and took nearly 5 minutes to load. Overall, accessibility is a problem for the kids who need this site the most.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to truly understand math beyond just memorizing formulas and terms.

  • Have your kids explain math definitions in their own words to see if they've grasped concepts.

Website details

Subjects:Math: algebra, calculus, equations, functions, geometry, graphing, measurement, numbers, probability, statistics
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development
Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, memorization, part-whole relationships
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Mathwords was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Hundreds of useful math definitions, examples, and charts.
  • Info and games designed to boost math's fun factor.
  • Complex math concepts presented as real-world examples.

For kids who love Math challenges

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bycolbox January 2, 2014 is great for kids is great for kids
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byclarence August 6, 2015