AskDefine | Define aliquot

Dictionary Definition

aliquot adj : signifying an exact divisor or factor of a quantity n : an integer that is an exact divisor of some quantity; "4 is an aliquot part of 12" [syn: aliquot part] [ant: aliquant]

User Contributed Dictionary



From French aliquote, from Latin aliquot.


IPA: /'ælɪkwɒt/


  1. contained in the whole an integral number of times
    • usually in the phrase aliquot part
    …the meal should be divided in aliquot parts among the members of the sick and indigent roomkeeper’s association as a token of his regard and esteem. (Joyce, Ulysses'')


contained an integral number of times


  1. a portion of a total amount of a solution




From alius + quot.


  1. Some (more than one); several.



Extensive Definition

In mathematics, an aliquot part (or simply aliquot) of an integer is any of its integer proper divisors. For instance, 2 is an aliquot of 12. The sum of all the aliquots of an integer n is the value s(n) = σ(n) - n , where σ(n) is the sum of divisors function.
In chemistry, an aliquot is usually a portion of a total amount of a solution.
The word is derived from the Latin aliquoties, "several times".
In pharmaceutics, aliquot refers to a method of measuring ingredients below the sensitivity of a scale. For example, if a scale is inaccurate for samples under 120 mg, but the prescription calls for only 40 mg of drug, an aliquot must be done. This involves adding active ingredient and a proportional amount of diluent to make a "stock" supply. In this case, 120 mg active drug must be weighed and mixed with diluent. Once this stock supply is made, at least 120 mg of this mixture will be taken out and used (as long as this portion contains exactly 40 mg of active drug).


In the construction of string instruments often aliquot parts of the scale length are being used to enhance the timbre of musical instruments. In pianos the aliquot stringing system is sometimes used. Non-Western traditional instruments with sympathetic strings make also use of timbre enhancing based on aliqout stringing and string resonance. The aliquot position (1/7th of the scale length) of the bridge on a violin is also important for the sound of the instrument.

Land Surveying

An aliquot part, in the U.S. Public Land Survey System, is the standard subdivision of area of a section, (a.k.a. a half section, quarter section, or quarter-quarter section). One section of land is a square mile, containing 640 acres (but actual lines as run in the field can produce varying area totals).

Egyptian fraction arithmetic

The aliquot parts of the denominator of the first partition of 2/p conversions to Egyptian fractions was used 25 times in the 1650 BCE RMP 2/n table. The method was in use as late as the Liber Abaci, a text written by Fibonacci in 1202 AD. F. Hultsch first noticed the aliquot part use in 1895. E.M. Bruins confirmed its use in 1945. Today, the use of aliquot parts in Egyptian fraction arithmetic is know as the Hultsch-Bruins method.


Differently, an aliquant part (or simply aliquant) is an integer that is not an exact divisor of a given quantity. For instance, 7 is an aliquant of 16. All numbers which are greater than half of a given quantity, except itself, are aliquants of the given quantity.
So, the aliquants of an integer n include all the positive integers m smaller than n that are coprime to n (i.e. gcd(m,n) = 1) and all positive integers m smaller than n that are not coprime to n while not dividing n (i.e. 1 < gcd(m,n) < m), which means that the aliquants of n are all the m with gcd(m,n) < m, the aliquots of n being all the positive integers m smaller than n for which gcd(m,n) = m, that is all the proper divisors of n. Consequently, the number of aliquants of n and the number of aliquots of n sums to n - 1.

External links

aliquot in German: Aliquot
aliquot in Dutch: Aliquot
aliquot in Russian: Аликвота
aliquot in Thai: ส่วนลงตัว

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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