Injective function

In mathematics, an injective function (also known as injection, or one-to-one function) is a function f that maps distinct elements to distinct elements; that is, f(x1) = f(x2) implies x1 = x2. (Equivalently, x1x2 implies f(x1) ≠ f(x2) in the equivalent contrapositive statement.) In other words, every element of the function's codomain is the image of at most one element of its domain.[1] The term one-to-one function must not be confused with one-to-one correspondence that refers to bijective functions, which are functions such that each element in the codomain is an image of exactly one element in the domain.

A homomorphism between algebraic structures is a function that is compatible with the operations of the structures. For all common algebraic structures, and, in particular for vector spaces, an injective homomorphism is also called a monomorphism. However, in the more general context of category theory, the definition of a monomorphism differs from that of an injective homomorphism.[2] This is thus a theorem that they are equivalent for algebraic structures; see Homomorphism § Monomorphism for more details.

A function that is not injective is sometimes called many-to-one.[1]


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