In mathematics, informal logic and argument mapping, a lemma (: lemmas or lemmata) is a generally minor, proven proposition which is used as a stepping stone to a larger result. For that reason, it is also known as a "helping theorem" or an "auxiliary theorem". In many cases, a lemma derives its importance from the theorem it aims to prove; however, a lemma can also turn out to be more important than originally thought.
From the Ancient Greek λῆμμα, (perfect passive εἴλημμαι) something received or taken. Thus something taken for granted in an argument.
Comparison with theorem
There is no formal distinction between a lemma and a theorem, only one of intention (see Theorem terminology). However, a lemma can be considered a minor result whose sole purpose is to help prove a more substantial theorem – a step in the direction of proof.
Some powerful results in mathematics are known as lemmas, first named for their