Definition: Union

Definition:  Let A and B be sets.  Then the union of A and B, often denoted by A \cup B, is the set whose elements are precisely those that are either in A or in B.  Written in the notation of lesson 16, we have that A\cup B =\{p|p\in A \mathrm{\ or\ } p\in B\}.//

It is important to remember that A \cup B is itself a set just like any other set.  Thus, we’ve taken the data of the sets A and B and created a new set, A\cup B.  We note that the union of a set with any of its subsets (including and especially the empty set) is just the original set, because the subset “brings in nothing new”.  For example, \{1, 2, 3, 4, 5\} \cup \{2, 4, 5\}=\{1, 2, 3, 4, 5\} since a set only sees its distinct elements.  We also note that a set A is always contained in the union of A with anything, simply because the union of A with anything certainly contains (at least) all of A’s elements.

For more on unions, check out lesson 16.

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