In the context of mathematics, a dividend refers to the number that is being divided in a division problem. It is not to be confused with its other definition as the distribution of part of a company's earnings to its shareholders.
Division problems can be presented in a number of different ways, as shown below, so it is important to be able to recognize the components of a division problem in different formats. The dividend, 12, in the division problem below is shown in orange.
It is important to understand the various parts of a division sentence (and equations in general) to be able to understand and communicate mathematics. However, it is also important to understand division as a concept. One way to conceptualize division is to think of it in terms of a given number of objects being broken up into a given number of groups containing an equal number of objects. For example, in 8 ÷ 2 = 4, there are a total of 8 objects that are broken up into 4 groups. In order for each group to have an equal number of objects, each group would have to have 2 objects, as in the figure below.
The dividend in the figure above is represented by the 8 red circles.