problem | medical dictionary |

1. A question proposed for solution; a matter stated for examination or proof; hence, a matter difficult of solution or settlement; a doubtful case; a question involving doubt.

2. <mathematics> Anything which is required to be done; as, in geometry, to bisect a line, to draw a perpendicular; or, in algebra, to find an unknown quantity.

Problem differs from theorem in this, that a problem is something to be done, as to bisect a triangle, to describe a circle, etc.; a theorem is something to be proved, as that all the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles.

<geometry> Plane problem, a problem requiring in its geometric solution the use of a conic section or higher curve.

Origin: F. Probleme, L. Problema, fr. Gr. Anything thrown forward, a question proposed for solution, fr. To throw or lay before; before, forward + to throw. Cf. Parable.

(01 Mar 1998)

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