Glossary for Lesson 14: Completing the Square

Completing the Square

Completing the square is a technique used to convert an expression of the form ax^2+bx+c , where a , b , and c are constants, to an expression of the form a(x-h)^2+k , where h and k are both constants. 

Leading Term and Leading Coefficient

The leading term of a polynomial expression is its highest degree term.  If a polynomial is written in standard form, the leading term should be the first term.  The coefficient of the leading term is called the leading coefficient of the expression.  For the polynomial -5x^4+6x-19 , the leading term is -5x^4 , and the leading coefficient is -5 .

Tangent Line

The tangent line to a curve at a certain point is a straight line that touches the curve at only that point and has the same slope as the curve at that location.