Tuple Definition

to͝opəl, tŭpəl
A generalization of ordered pairs, such as (-3, 4), and ordered triples, such as (0, -3, 5), in any dimension. An n -tuple is an ordered list of n numbers and can represent a point in n -dimensional space.
American Heritage

(set theory) A finite sequence of terms.

A tuple is not merely a totally-ordered set because the same element can appear more than once in a tuple: for example, qualifies as a 3-tuple whereas it would not qualify as a totally-ordered set (of cardinality 3), because the set would be where and so that ; i.e., it would actually be a one-element set, not even just two-element.
If commutativity were added to a tuple, it would turn into a multiset or "bag". For example, words (of some alphabetic language) can be considered to be tuples of letters. If the ordering requirement on those letters were lifted, then the word would become a multiset of letters equivalent to those of its anagrams.

(computing) A single row in a relational database.


(computing) A set of comma-separated values passed to a program or operating system as a parameter to a function call.


(computing) In some programming languages, a data type which is similar but distinct from the list data type, whose instances are characterized by having a rather fixed arity, and the elements of which instances can differ from each other by data type. (Note: this definition may overlap with the previous one.)

Both Python and Haskell have a tuple data type as well as a list data type.
Unlike lists, tuples are not formed by consing.

(mathematics) A tuple containing the specified number of terms.

A 20-tuple.

Other Word Forms of Tuple



Origin of Tuple

  • From the ending of the words quintuple, sextuple; from Latin -plus.

    From Wiktionary

  • From -tuple as in quintuple or sextuple

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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