# Lemma (mathematics)

(Redirected from Lemma (logic))

In mathematics, informal logic and argument mapping, a lemma (PL: lemmas or lemmata) is a generally minor, proven proposition which is used as a stepping stone to a larger result. For that reason, it is also known as a "helping theorem" or an "auxiliary theorem". In many cases, a lemma derives its importance from the theorem it aims to prove; however, a lemma can also turn out to be more important than originally thought.

## Etymology

From the Ancient Greek λῆμμα, (perfect passive εἴλημμαι) something received or taken. Thus something taken for granted in an argument. 

## Comparison with theorem

There is no formal distinction between a lemma and a theorem, only one of intention (see Theorem terminology). However, a lemma can be considered a minor result whose sole purpose is to help prove a more substantial theorem – a step in the direction of proof.

## Well-known lemmas

Some powerful results in mathematics are known as lemmas, first named for their originally minor purpose. These include, among others:

While these results originally seemed too simple or too technical to warrant independent interest, they have eventually turned out to be central to the theories in which they occur.