Copyright

Negative Reciprocal: Definition & Examples

Negative Reciprocal: Definition & Examples
Coming up next: Solving 5 to the 4th Power

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 What Is a Reciprocal?
  • 0:57 Negative Numbers & Reciprocals
  • 2:12 Perpendicular Slope Example
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Pennington

Laura has taught collegiate mathematics and holds a master's degree in pure mathematics.

The negative reciprocal of a number is a very fancy word for a very simple concept. In this lesson, through definition and example, we'll learn how to find a number's negative reciprocal.

What Is a Reciprocal?

Imagine that you and a friend have to sleep in a bunk bed. You want to sleep on the top bunk, so your friend takes the bottom bunk. After about 15 minutes, you remember that you often get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Now that you realize the bottom bunk would be a better fit, you and your friend switch places. As you're now occupying the bottom bunk, and your friend is sleeping in the top bunk, you're reciprocals of each other.

In mathematics, finding the reciprocal of a number simply involves putting the number in fraction form and then flipping its numerator and denominator, or top and bottom numbers respectively. For example, to find the reciprocal of the number 2/3, we flip the numerator and the denominator to get 3/2. Now, consider the number 23. To find the reciprocal of 23, we first put it in fraction form (23/1) and then flip the numerator and denominator to get 1/23.

Negative Numbers & Reciprocals

Have you looked at your bank account lately? If not, let's imagine that your employer just transferred $500 into your checking account. A few days later, you transfer that $500 to your savings account. When record these transactions in your checkbook, you show the money coming in and going out as +500 and -$500 respectively; in doing this, you've just taken the negative of 500 by simply changing its sign.

Now that you understand the definition of a reciprocal and a negative number, let's define the negative reciprocal of a number. The negative reciprocal of a number is exactly what the term sounds like: the number's reciprocal preceded by a negative sign. To find the negative reciprocal of a number, we first find its reciprocal and then its negative. The phrase 'flip and switch' is a good way to remember this process.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support