Connected relation

In mathematics, a relation on a set is called connected or total if it relates (or "compares") all distinct pairs of elements of the set in one direction or the other while it is called strongly connected if it relates all pairs of elements. As described in the terminology section below, the terminology for these properties is not uniform. This notion of "total" should not be confused with that of a total relation in the sense that for all there is a so that (see serial relation).

Connectedness features prominently in the definition of total orders: a total (or linear) order is a partial order in which any two elements are comparable; that is, the order relation is connected. Similarly, a strict partial order that is connected is a strict total order. A relation is a total order if and only if it is both a partial order and strongly connected. A relation is a strict total order if, and only if, it is a strict partial order and just connected. A strict total order can never be strongly connected (except on an empty domain).


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