Concept

Free variables and bound variables

Résumé
In mathematics, and in other disciplines involving formal languages, including mathematical logic and computer science, a variable may be said to be either free or bound. The terms are opposites. A free variable is a notation (symbol) that specifies places in an expression where substitution may take place and is not a parameter of this or any container expression. Some older books use the terms real variable and apparent variable for free variable and bound variable, respectively. The idea is related to a placeholder (a symbol that will later be replaced by some value), or a wildcard character that stands for an unspecified symbol. In computer programming, the term free variable refers to variables used in a function that are neither local variables nor parameters of that function. The term non-local variable is often a synonym in this context. An instance of a variable symbol is bound, in contrast, if the value of that variable symbol has been bound to a specific value or range o
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