MAGNET – (noun) 1. A magnet is a piece of metal that attracts a piece of iron. See ATTRACT. To make a piece of metal into a magnet it has to be magnetised. Speak to your science teacher to find out about this. 2. The word magnet is also used to describe anything that attracts other things. “When the puppies” – (baby dogs) “were born they acted like a magnet and all the children from near and far came to look at them. 

MAGNITUDE – (noun) 1. Magnitude is another word meaning the size of something. “The magnitude of his knowledge is great.” “The magnitude of the crowd was 1000 people.” 2. It also means importance. “That was an event of great magnitude.

MAIN – (adjective) 1. Main means most important. “The main reason I came was to see you. The main office is in the centre of the city. ” 2. – (noun) Main is also a name for a water pipe or electricity line to which a lot of connections are made f or all the houses. “ There was no water because the water main burst. There was no electricity because the wind blew down the electricity main.

MAINTENANCE – (noun) 1. Maintenance is the word used to describe the actions that are needed to keep some machinery working. For example a motor car is a piece of machinery. The normal maintenance on a car is to change the oil and put in new spark plugs every 10,000 kilometres. It is also necessary to keep the tyres pumped up, water in the radiator and petrol in the tank for a car to work properly. 2. There is also another important meaning for maintenance. If a man is the father of a baby then the la w says he must pay sufficient money to buy the child food and clothes until he is grown up and can earn his/her own money. That money is called maintenance. If a man is the father of a child then the law can force him to pay the mother maintenance for the child especially when he does not make a home for the mother and the baby.

MAJOR – (adjective) 1. Major means more important or bigger. “The greedy girl took the major part of the cake. His clever play was a major reason for our team winning the game. “2. – (noun) Major is also the rank of an officer in an army. See OFFICER.

MAJOR AXIS – (noun) When a figure has two axes at right angles one of which is longer than the other, the longer one is called the major axis. See MAJOR. See Diagram 17.

MANAGE – (verb) – (See DIRECT)

MANNER – (noun) means a way of doing or being. “That is not the manner to use towards your friends. The accident happened in this manner.

MANNERS – (noun) is the word used to describe the way someone behaves towards other people. If a person has good manners then he behaves politely to other people. If a person has bad manners then he behaves rudely to other people.

MANTISSA – (noun) Mantissa is a word used in the subject of logarithms. You will learn what a mantissa is when you learn in class how to use logarithmic tables. Ask your maths teacher to show you.

MAP – (noun) A map is a drawing to scale – (See last definition at SCALE) of a portion of the earth’s surface. If the scale was 1 in 10 000 000 – (1 in 10 million) then the distance of two places that are 1000 km apart would be 10 cm apart on the map – ( 10 x 10 000 000/ 100 x 1000 = 1000) A map showing the streets of a town would have a scale of about 1 in 100 000 and a map of the world would have a scale of about 1 in 100 000 000 and a map of the whole of South Africa would have a scale of about 1 in 10 000 000. A map is usually drawn with North at the top and can have the lines of latitude and longitude included. A good map will also have contour lines included to show the height of the ground above sea level. See CONTOUR LINE. See diagrams 53 & 54.

MARK – (noun) 1. A mark is something that you make with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper. A mark can have any shape so long as it is dark enough and big enough to be seen. “The teacher made a mark the shape of a cross where John had the wrong answers and a mark the shape of a tick where he got the correct answers.” 2. Mark can also mean the number of ticks that a student gets – (right answers). 3. A mark can also be ma de by anything that is dark in colour if it is put onto something that is light in colour. “The” “oil made an ugly black mark on her white dress.” 4. Mark can also be used as a verb. “The teacher is marking the answers. Mark your clothes with your name. ” 5. The marks used for punctuation are called punctuation marks. See PUNCTUATION.

MASCULINE – (adjective) means to do with men or boys. Cars, machines, football are masculine things. Dolls, dresses, scent and lipstick are feminine – (to do with girls and women) things.

MASS – (noun) is an amount of matter. See MATTER.

MATCH has several meanings. 1. Firstly it is the name of the small piece of wood that you get in a match box which is used to light a fire. “Please strike a match to light my cigarette. “ 2. It is also the name of a game when two people or two teams play against each other. “She won the tennis match.” 3. It also means when two things are similar or go well together. “John and Regina are a good match because they like the same things. This hat is not a good match with those shoes because it is the wrong colour. ” 4. If you use match as a verb it means to find or put two things together that are similar or go well together. “ Please match this skirt with a suitable blouse.

MATERIAL – (noun) is the name of something that can be used to make something else. Cloth to make a dress is called dress material. Bricks, sand and cement are called building material.

MATHEMATICAL is the adjective from mathematics. “That is an easy mathematical problem.

MATHEMATICS – (noun) is the name given to the study of measurements, numbers and quantities. The main divisions of mathematics are Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Look up these four words. “He is very good at mathematics. He always gets the answers to these difficult problems right. ” See PROBLEM. Maths is the short form of mathematics.

MATHS – (noun) is the short way of saying mathematics.

MATTER – (noun) 1. Matter is what things are made of. Anything you can feel, touch or see is made of matter. For example the following consist of – (see CONSIST OF) matter: water, air, rocks, sand, wood, metals and so on. 2. Matter also means a thing to do or a thing that takes up your attention. See ATTENTION. “The matter of his son’s illness caused him a lot of worry. That is a matter for the judge to decide.

MAXIMUM – (adjective) means the largest or biggest possible. “100 per cent is the maximum mark you can get.

MAY – (noun) 1. May is the name of the month of May that comes after April and before June. She plans to be married in May. 2. May also is a verb which means ‘to be allowed to’. “Her mother said she may go to the party tonight if she gets home by midnight. “ The past of ‘may’ is ‘might’.

MEAN 1. See ARITHMETIC MEAN – (noun). 2. Mean – (verb) also is to have as a thought or an idea. “What does that word mean?” 3. It also is the same as intend or decide. “I am sorry I did not mean to hurt you. “ 4. Mean – (adjective) also is the same as unkind. “The mean boy teased his sister.” See MEANS.

MEANING is the noun from verb to mean. “What is the meaning of this word?

MEANS 1. Means – (noun) is another word for method. “Because they had no means of producing food they were very hungry. “ 2. Means is also a form of the verb ‘to mean’. You say I mean to be rich, but he means to be a good sportsman. See MEAN.

MEASURE – (verb) means to take measurements. “When I measured the room I found it was 4 metres by 6 metres.

MEASUREMENT – (noun) A measurement is the size or quantity of something. “The measurements of the room are 6 metres long and 4 metres wide. “ You can use a tape measure or meter-rule to take measurements.

MECHANICAL – (adjective) means to do with machinery. A machine has parts that work together. “A bicycle is a mechanical thing. A motorcar is also a mechanical thing. “Can you name some of the mechanical parts of a bicycle or a car?

MEDIAN – (noun) A median of a triangle is a line drawn from one corner to the centre of the opposite side. See Diagram 13.

MEETING – (noun) 1. A meeting is when two or more people come together for some purpose usually to talk about something and make a decision. “They held a meeting to decide what to do about the old church building which needed to be repaired and painted”. 2. Meeting can also be used as an adjective. “The meeting place of the two friends was under the old oak tree. 

MEMBER – (noun) 1. Member is the name of something or someone that belongs to a group. “He is a member of the football club. We are all members of the human race. “2. Member also means a part of the body especially a leg or an arm. 3. In maths, member means one of the quantities that belongs to a set. See ELEMENT.

MENTAL ARITHMETIC – (noun) When you do arithmetic in your head without writing down any numbers it is called mental arithmetic Doing mental arithmetic is good practice and teaches you to think faster. 


METHOD – (noun) A method is a way of doing something. “He had a good method of peeling potatoes so he was very quick.” If you say he has no method in his thinking you mean he thinks in a mixed up way.

METRE – (noun) A metre is a unit of measurement of length. Its length is about the same as one long step of a man. There are 1000 millimetres in a metre. There are 100 centimetres in a metre. “The height of that man is 1,8 metres”.

METRIC SYSTEM – (noun) The metric system is a system of measurement that uses decimals. Its basic unit of length is the metre. Its basic unit of mass is the gram and its basic unit of volume is the litre.

MICROSCOPE – (noun) A microscope is a thing which you can look through to see other things. The microscope makes very small things look big. With a microscope you can see very small things that you cannot see with your eyes alone. This is very important for doctors because by using a microscope they were able to discover the very small germs that cause many of man’s illnesses and were also able to discover ways to kill these germs and so prevent or cure many illnesses.

MIDNIGHT – (noun) is 12 o’clock at night. Midnight on Thursday is the end of Thursday and the beginning of Friday. “The clock struck at midnight.

MIDPOINT – (noun) is short for ‘the middle point of’. See diagram 49.

MIDWAY – (noun) means at a place halfway or about halfway between two other places. “Halfway House is the name of a place midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

MIGHT – (verb) 1. Might is the past of may. See MAY. 2. Might also means power or strength. “Although he used all his might he was unable to screw the top off the bottle. It was stuck so tight.

MILLIGRAM – (noun) A milligram is a measure of weight. There are 1000 milligrams in a gram and 1000 grams in a kilogram, so a milligram is a very small amount. “You need a special scale to weigh things to the nearest milligram. “ The abbreviation for milligram is mg.

MILLILITRE – (noun) A millilitre is a measure of volume. There are 1000 millilitres in a litre. That bottle holds 375 millilitres. The abbreviation for millilitre is ml.

MILLIMETRES – (noun) A millimetre is a measure of length. There are 1000 millimetres in a meter. Please cut my bread about 10 millimetres thick. The abbreviation for millimetre is mm.

MILLION A million is a big number that is equal to 1000 x 1000. See Appendix IV.

MINIMUM means the smallest possible or least possible. “The minimum “- (adjective) “pass mark in this subject is 40%. He is lazy because when asked to help he does the minimum. ” – (noun)”.

MINOR – (adjective) means less important or smaller. “Telling a lie is minor compared to stealing all that money. He took a minor part in the play. He only had 3 words to say”.

MINOR AXIS – (noun) When a geometric figure has two axes at right angles one of which is longer than the other, the shorter one is called the minor axis. See MINOR. See diagram 17.

MINUS – (preposition) 1. Minus means take away from or decrease by. Examples: 2 minus 1 equals 1. 9 minus 4 minus 3 equals 2. These can be written for short as 2 – 1 = 1 and 9 – 4 – 3 = 2. You can also mix a plus and a minus. 1 + 4 – 2 = 3. 2. In ordinary language minus – (preposition) means without something. If you say I was minus my bicycle it means you were without your bicycle. See SUBTRACT.

MINUTE – (noun) is a measure of time. There are 24 hours in a day. There are 60 minutes in an hour. 2. Minute is also used as a measure of angles. There are 90 degrees in a right angle and 60 minutes in a degree. See diagram 49. 3. Minute also means a written record of what was discussed at a meeting. The minutes of each meeting are kept in a ‘minute book’. The secretary of the meeting usually keeps notes and writes the minutes of the meeting after the meeting. The minutes of the last meeting are read at the next meeting and passed as correct or altered and then passed.

MIRROR IMAGE – (noun) A mirror image is what you see when you look at something in a mirror. If you make a drawing on paper that is not too thick and you turn the paper over and hold it up to the light you will then be looking at the mirror image of y our drawing. You should try this out by making a drawing on a piece of paper. Then compare what you see when you look at it in a mirror and what you see when you turn it over and hold it up to the light.

MIXTURE – (noun) A mixture is what you get when you take a number of different things and stir them up together. “She stirred the flour, sugar, eggs and butter in a special way to make this mixture which she baked into a tasty cake.

MODEL – (noun) 1. A model car is a small car the size of a toy that is made to look exactly like the big car it is a copy of. “He has a collection of model cars. Before they built the house they made a model of it to see what it would look like. ” 2. If you say you are going to model – (verb) something it means that you are going to make a model of that thing. “ The school girl modelled a cat in clay.” 3. When something is made new and better each year then you talk about the model – (noun) for that year. “The 1990 model of that car is much better than the 1989 model. “ 4. A model is also the name of a person whose job it is to wear the latest clothes so that other people who want to buy clothes can see what these new clothes look like. “A girl who wants to be a model should be pretty and have a nice figure.

MODERN – (adjective) means the way things are today not the way they were about 50 or a 100 years ago. “Modern cars look better and go better than the cars of 1950.

MODIFY – (verb) 1. Modify means to change in some way. “She modified the dress so it would fit her sister”. 2. An adverb is said to modify a verb because it changes the meaning in some way. “He runs’ ” just means that he runs, but in “he runs quickly” the adverb quickly modifies the verb ‘runs’ because it tells the way that he runs.

MONTHLY BALANCE – (noun) The monthly balance is the balance in a bank account at the end of a month. He gets 10% interest paid each month based on the monthly balance. See BANK, ACCOUNT, INVEST, INTEREST & COMPOUND INTEREST.

MOOD – (noun) 1. A mood is a way of feeling. If you are in a good mood you are happy and cheerful. If you are in a bad mood you are likely to criticize others and not be friendly.” He is in a very good mood because he has won a big prize. “2. Mood has another meaning in grammar. Verbs can be in the indicative mood or the subjunctive mood. In “She is pretty’ ”, ‘is’ is in the indicative mood because it is stating a fact. In “Oh! that I were rich, then I would buy all these pretty clothes’,” ‘were’ is in the subjunctive mood because it is talking about a possibility and not a fact.

MORTAR – (noun) is the name of the mixture of cement, lime and sand with water that is used for laying bricks. “They could not finish the wall today because they ran out of mortar”. See CEMENT.

MOST 1. Much means a great amount. “There was much” – (adjective) “enjoyment when the circus came to town. “ 2. More is the comparative form of much. See COMPARATIVE. It means bigger in amount than something else. “The big boy eats more” – (adjective) “food than the little boy. “ 3. Most is the superlative form of much. See SUPERLATIVE. “She is the most “- (adjective)” beautiful girl at our school. “ This means that she is more beautiful than any other girl at our school. . Most means bigger or more than all other things. When you use more you talk about two things only. When you use most you talk about a lot of other things. “Of all the boys at the party he ate most “- (noun). 4. More and most are used to form the comparative and superlative forms of other words. For example you can say “she is more pretty than her sister.” This is the same as saying “she is prettier than her sister. Of all the girls I know she is the most pretty. “This is the same as saying that “she is the prettiest.” With pretty you can use either ‘more pretty’ or ‘prettier’ and ‘most pretty’ or ‘prettiest’.” “With some words like beautiful you can only use ‘more beautiful’ and ‘most beautiful’. The words ‘beautifuller’ and ‘beautifullest’ do not exist and are not used. You will learn more words like this in your English grammar classes.

MOTION – (noun) 1. Motion is another name for movement. “The motion of the ship made him feel sick. The motion of the train put him to sleep. “2. When some people have a meeting to decide something then one or more people will make suggestions as to what should be done. After discussion the meeting then decides which suggestion they are going to use. The name of such a suggestion is called a motion. When a person makes a suggestion for discussion at a meeting you say “he is proposing a motion.

MOVE – (verb) 1. Move means to change the position of. “Please move your body out of the way. “ 2. It also means to put into motion. “The wind is moving the clouds”. 3. In the decimal system when you divide a number by 10 all you need to do is move the decimal comma by one place to the left. 100,5 divided by 10 becomes 10,05. When you multiply by 10 you move the decimal one place to the right, 100,5 multiplied by 10 becomes 1005. 455.67 divided by 1000 becomes 0,45567. 0,0034 multiplied by 10000 becomes 34. See DECIMAL.

MULTIPLE – (noun) A multiple is the result of multiplying 2 or more numbers together. For example if you multiply 2 by 3 you get 6 and if you multiply 6 by 4 you get 24. This is written 2 x 3 x 4 = 24. So you can say 24 is the multiple of the number s 2, 3 & 4. It is also correct to say that 24 is a multiple of 2 or that 24 is a multiple of 3 or that 24 is a multiple of 4.

MULTIPLICAND – (noun) In a multiplication sum like 7 x 8 = 56, 7 is called the multiplier and 8 is called the multiplicand. 56 is called the product.


MULTIPLICATION – (noun) is the repeated addition of the same number. See MULTIPLY.

MULTIPLICATION TABLES – (noun) Multiplication tables are tables which show the answers when you multiply a number by all the numbers from 1 to 12, for example here is your five times table:

5 x 1 = 5 = 5

5 x 2 = 5 + 5 = 10

5 x 3 = 5 + 5 + 5 = 15

5 x 4 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 20

5 x 5 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 25

5 x 6 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 30

5 x 7 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 35

5 x 8 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 40

5 x 9 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 45

5 x 10 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 50

5 x 11 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 55

5 x 12 = 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 = 60

See appendix V for multiplication tables.

MULTIPLY – (verb) is what you do when you increase a number by adding the same number to itself a number of times. If you multiply 3 by 4 then this is the same as adding 3 + 3 + 3 + 3. By addition you get the answer to be 12 or you just know the answer is 12 if you know your multiplication tables. The answer to 6 x 5 is got by adding 6+ 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 which is 30. See MULTIPLICATION TABLES & DIVIDE. For multiplication of positive numbers by negative numbers see Appendix II.1.

MUNICIPALITY – (noun) a town or city that has self government is called a municipality. For example Cape Town and Johannesburg are municipalities. The people who pay rates vote to elect town councillors who sit on a committee called the town council which manages the affairs of the town. See RATES, VOTE, COUNCIL, COMMITTEE & MANAGE.