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- [mathematics] A data value or the symbolic representation of a data value in an expression. Operands may be numbers, character strings, functions, variables, parenthetical expressions in the body of a larger expression, and so on. Symbolic representations of operands, such as variables and functions, are evaluated before they are operated upon by the operators in the expression. For example, in the expression "1 + 2", the operands are 1 and 2, and are operated upon by the + (plus) operator, which adds the operands together and returns the value 3.