# Definition:Variable/Complex

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## Definition

A **complex variable** is a symbol which can stand for any one of a set of complex numbers.

The symbols most often used to denote a **complex variable** are $w$ and $z$.

## Also known as

When it occurs in a mathematical equation, a **variable** is often referred to as an **unknown**.

In the specific context of elementary algebra, the ugly misnomer **pronumeral** is frequently found in Australia. This was introduced by extension of the concept of a pronoun: a symbol that **stands in** for a **numeral**, by which the term number is actually meant.

Thankfully the term appears not to have caught on in general.

## Sources

- 1981: Murray R. Spiegel:
*Theory and Problems of Complex Variables*(SI ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $1$: Complex Numbers: The Complex Number System - 1981: Murray R. Spiegel:
*Theory and Problems of Complex Variables*(SI ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $2$: Functions, Limits and Continuity: Variables and Functions