What is slope? Definition and real-life examples.

What is slope? If you have ever walked up or down a hill, then you have already experienced a real life example of slope. 

As you go uphill, you may feel like you are spending lots of energy to get yourself to move. The steeper the hill, the harder it is for you to keep yourself moving. Keeping this fact in mind, by definition, the slope is the measure of the steepness of a line.

In real life, we see slope in any direction. However, in math, slope is defined as you move from left to right.

I repeat we always measure slope going from left to right. This is very important!

Real life positive slope image

There are four types of slope you can encounter. A slope can be

  • positive
  • negative
  • equal to zero
  • undefined.

When the slope is equal to zero, we say that there is no slope.

A positive slope:

If you go from left to right and you go up, it it a positive slope.

Positive slope

A negative slope:

If you go from left to right and you go down, it it a negative slope.

Negative slope

A zero slope:

If you go from left to right and you don't go up or down, it it a zero slope.

Zero slope

An undefined slope:

A slope is undefined if you neither move to the right nor to the left. Instead, you are dealing with a vertical line where the possibility is to either go up or down.

Undefined slope

What is slope? Find out how well you understand the concept with the quiz below. 

The lesson about slope of a line or how to find the slope will explain what it means for a slope to ne positive, negative, zero, or undefined mathematically.

Continue your study of slope here in the order given below

What is slope

How to find the slope
Learn how to compute the slope using the rise and the run or 2 points.

Undefined slope
A thorough explanation of what it means for a slope to be undefined.

Graphing slope
Learn how to graph the slope using the slope and a point.

Slope intercept form
Learn how to find the slope intercept form.

Point slope form
Learn how to find the point slope form.

Related topics

Slope calculator 
Given two points, this calculator will calculate the slope and the slope intercept form of a line.

Midpoint of a line segment 
Find out how to find the midpoint of a line segment using the midpoint formula.

Direct variation 

A couple of real life examples of direct variation explained.

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