# Binary operation

In mathematics, a **binary operation** or **dyadic operation** is a calculation that combines two elements (called operands) to produce another element. More formally, a binary operation is an operation of arity two.

More specifically, a binary operation *on a set* is an operation whose two domains and the codomain are the same set. Examples include the familiar arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Other examples are readily found in different areas of mathematics, such as vector addition, matrix multiplication, and conjugation in groups.

An operation of arity two that involves several sets is sometimes also called a *binary operation*. For example, scalar multiplication of vector spaces takes a scalar and a vector to produce a vector, and scalar product takes two vectors to produce a scalar. Such binary operations may be called simply binary functions.

Binary operations are the keystone of most algebraic structures that are studied in algebra, in particular in semigroups, monoids, groups, rings, fields, and vector spaces.