Definition:Ordered Tuple/Definition 1

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Let $n \in \N$ be a natural number.

Let $\N^*_n$ be the first $n$ non-zero natural numbers:

$\N^*_n := \set {1, 2, \ldots, n}$

An ordered tuple (of length $n$) is a finite sequence whose domain is $\N^*_n$.

Term of Ordered Tuple

Let $\left \langle {a_k} \right \rangle_{k \mathop \in \N^*_n}$ be an ordered tuple.

The ordered pair $\left({k, a_k}\right)$ is called the $k$th term of the ordered tuple for each $k \in \N^*_n$.

Also known as

Some sources refer to an ordered tuple as a tuple.

The term ordered $n$-tuple can sometimes be seen, particularly for specific instances of $n$.

Instead of writing 2-tuple, 3-tuple and 4-tuple, the terms couple, triple and quadruple are usually used.

In the context of abstract algebra, the concept is encountered as (associative) word.


Notation for an ordered tuple varies throughout the literature.

There are also specialised instances of an ordered tuple where the convention is to use angle brackets.

However, it is common for an ordered tuple to be denoted:

$\left({a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n}\right)$

extending the notation for an ordered pair.

For example: $\left({6, 3, 3}\right)$ is the ordered triple $f$ defined as:

$f \left({1}\right) = 6, f \left({2}\right) = 3, f \left({3}\right) = 3$

The notation:

$\left\langle {a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n}\right\rangle$

is recommended when use of round brackets would be ambiguous.

Other notations which may be encountered are:

$\left[{a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n}\right]$
$\left\{{a_1, a_2, \ldots, a_n}\right\}$

but both of these are strongly discouraged: the square bracket format because there are rendering problems on this site, the latter because it is too easily confused with set notation.

In order to further streamline notation, it is common to use the more compact $\left\langle{a_n}\right\rangle$ for $\left\langle{a_k}\right\rangle_{1 \mathop \le k \mathop \le n}$.

Also see