# How is the word “power” used in mathematics?

When I was researching on the Web, I came across the following expression in a sentence. (Because the entire sentence was technical, I didn't mention the entire sentence)

"a base expression taken to a specified power."

Then I got curious to know how the word "power" is used in English (mathematics). You know, in math, when you take a number to a specific power, it is multiplied by itself and the number of times that it is multiplied by itself depends on the exponent.

Now I want to know more about how the word "power" is used in English. For example, how do you say a mathematical expression in which power is used? Or how do you ask somebody to tell the result of a number taken to a specific power?

You know, in math, when you take a number to a specific power, it is multiplied by itself and the number of times that it is multiplied by itself depends on the exponent.

That's basically all there is to it.

If you have the mathematical expression 23, you can say it aloud as either

two to the power of three

or

two to the third power

If you working in a field where you use math a lot, you'll probably most often hear the second version shortened to just "two to the third".

• "Two to the power of three" Thank you for your answer. Somebody also sent me an answer and told me that I can say "two to the power three" (he or she didn't put "of" between "power" and "three"). Is it incorrect? By the way, his or her answer was deleted immediately! I don't know why. – Javad Bayat Jan 2 '18 at 10:28

"Power" may be used in at least two senses in mathematical English. For example, there are "power sets" in set theory. Mathematics is filled with definitions, and two sub-fields may use the same word in different senses. However, the value of an exponent is far and away the most common mathematical meaning of "power." One might go so far as to say it is the sole meaning in elementary algebra and calculus.

• Ok, thank you, I read your answer. So the word "power" has at least two meanings in mathematics. But can you explain what are "power sets" in set theory? – Javad Bayat Jan 2 '18 at 11:12
• Here is a citation to power sets: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_set I want to stress that the primary mathematical meaning of "power" is the value of an exponent. But different branches of mathematics can use the same word with different meanings. – Jeff Morrow Jan 2 '18 at 14:08