Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

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associative property in addition and multiplication, the characteristic that allows you to add or multiply a group of numbers in any order and get the same answer. For example, in multiplication, (5 x 2) x 7 is equal to (7 x 2) x 5.
distributive property in mathematics, a characteristic of numbers that allows you to multiply a group of numbers and get the same answer you would get if you multiplied each member of the group and then combined the answers. For example, 4 x (8 + 1 + 5) is equal to (4 x 8) + (4 x 1) + (4 x 5).