Math Definitions - Letter P


Definition of Permutation

Definition of Permutation

A permutation is an arrangement of a set of objects, in which the order of the objects is important.

We often count the number of different possible permutations of a set of objects.

For example, if you want to know the number of different ways you can arrange three students from your class in a straight line, different orders of students will give you different arrangements, so the order is important. If the three students are called Sam, Al and Jasmin, the possible arrangements are:

  • Sam, Al, Jasmin
  • Sam, Jasmin, Al
  • Al, Sam, Jasmin
  • Al, Jasmin, Sam
  • Jasmin, Sam, Al
  • Jasmin, Al, Sam

Permutations of numbers are often used to create the secret codes that are used to open safes and locks. For example, a reordering of the numbers \(\{1,2,3,4\}\) might give you the code to open this lock.

An arrangement of a set of objects in which the order doesn't matter is called a combination.


The aim of this dictionary is to provide definitions to common mathematical terms. Students learn a new math skill every week at school, sometimes just before they start a new skill, if they want to look at what a specific term means, this is where this dictionary will become handy and a go-to guide for a student.


Year 1 to Year 12 students

Learning Objectives

Learn common math terms starting with letter P

Author: Subject Coach
Added on: 6th Feb 2018

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