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n. that part of a floating-point number that contains its significant digits.


The significand (also mantissa or coefficient) is part of a number in scientific notation or a floating-point number, consisting of its significant digits. Depending on the interpretation of the exponent, the significand may represent an integer or a fraction. The word mantissa seems to have been introduced by Arthur Burks in 1946 writing for the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, although this use of the word is discouraged by the IEEE floating-point standard committee as well as some professionals such as the creator of the standard William Kahan.