X-Coordinates: Definition & Examples

X-Coordinates: Definition & Examples
Coming up next: What Are Congruent Figures? - Definition & Examples

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

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is an X-Coordinate?
  • 0:28 Example
  • 0:50 Directions and Coordinates
  • 2:51 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

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberlee Davison

Kim has a Ph.D. in Education and has taught math courses at four colleges, in addition to teaching math to K-12 students in a variety of settings.

X-coordinates are an essential part of plotting points on graphs. Learn how an x-coordinate relates to direction on 2-dimensional mathematical grids. After, test yourself with the quiz.

What Is an X-Coordinate?

An x-coordinate is the x value in an ordered pair, which is just two mathematical objects, such as numbers, paired together. Usually, the x-coordinate is the first number in that pair. For instance, in the ordered pair (2,5), the x-coordinate would be '2.' This value tells you how far a point is from the origin, or starting point, in the x direction on a 2-dimensional graph.


Let's look at an example. On this graph, the x-coordinates are shown in red. They're nearly always the first value in an ordered pair and the horizontal direction on a Cartesian plane, or a 2-dimensional mathematical graph.

Graph with several labeled points

The x-coordinate of the heart is '4', the x-coordinate of the star is '3', and the x-coordinate of the smiley face is '-4'.

Directions and Coordinates

The x-direction, however, needs to be labeled clearly, so everyone who looks at a graph knows exactly what you mean.

Let's suppose you are giving your second cousin directions to your house for a birthday bash you are holding for your great-grandmother. You might say, 'Drive 3 miles north on Main Street, turn left, and go three more blocks.' Then, your great-grandmother's sister calls for directions and you say, 'Drive 10 miles south on Main Street, turn right, and go three more blocks.' Why did you give different directions? Well, because these two relatives were coming from different starting points. My point is this: directions are relative.

In mathematics, you will usually see the x-direction as the horizontal direction on a graph. Your math teacher and math book will almost always draw the x direction and y direction, as you see here. The labels x-axis and y-axis are there to make absolutely sure you know which direction is x and which is y.

Blank Cartesian Plane

There is no reason, however, why a graph couldn't look like this, with the x and y directions reversed:

Graph with x and y axes reversed

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