De*ter"mi*nant (?), a. [L.
determinans, p. pr. of determinare: cf. F.
déterminant.] Serving to determine or limit;
De*ter"mi*nant, n. 1.
That which serves to determine; that which causes
2. (Math.) The sum of a series of
products of several numbers, these products being formed according to
certain specified laws; thus, the determinant of the
a, b, c,
is a b′ c′′ - a b′′ c′ +
a′ b′′ c] - a′ b c′′ +
a′′ b′ c. The determinant is written by placing
the numbers from which it is formed in a square between two vertical
lines. The theory of determinants forms a very important
branch of modern mathematics.
3. (Logic) A mark or attribute,
attached to the subject or predicate, narrowing the extent of both,
but rendering them more definite and precise. Abp.