In math, the square root of a number like 4 is a number that, when multiplied by itself, is equal to 4. We would show this in mathematical form with the square root symbol, which is called the radical symbol: √
Any number with the radical symbol next to it us called the radical term or the square root of 4 in radical form.
To explain the square root a little more, the square root of the number 4 is the quantity (which we call q) that when multiplied by itself is equal to 4:
So what is the square root of 4 and how do we calculate it? Well if you have a computer, or a calculator, you can easily calculate the square root. If you need to do it by hand, then it will require good old fashioned long division with a pencil and piece of paper.
For the purposes of this article, we'll calculate it for you (but later in the article we'll show you how to calculate it yourself with long division). The square root of 4 is 2:
Is 4 a Perfect Square?
When the square root of a given number is a whole number, this is called a perfect square. Perfect squares are important for many mathematical functions and are used in everything from carpentry through to more advanced topics like physics and astronomy.
If we look at the number 4, we know that the square root is 2, and since this is a whole number, we also know that 4 is a perfect square.
If you want to learn more about perfect square numbers we have a list of perfect squares which covers the first 1,000 perfect square numbers.
Is 4 a Rational or Irrational Number?
Another common question you might find when working with the roots of a number like 4 is whether the given number is rational or irrational. Rational numbers can be written as a fraction and irrational numbers can't.
The quickest way to check if a number is rational or irrational is to determine if it is a perfect square. If it is, then it's a rational number, but if it is not a perfect square then it is an irrational number.
We already know that 4 is a rational number then, because we know it is a perfect square.
Calculating the Square Root of 4
To calculate the square root of 4 using a calculator you would type the number 4 into the calculator and then press the √x key:
To calculate the square root of 4 in Excel, Numbers of Google Sheets, you can use the
Rounding the Square Root of 4
Sometimes when you work with the square root of 4 you might need to round the answer down to a specific number of decimal places:
10th: √4 = 2.0
100th: √4 = 2.00
1000th: √4 = 2.000
Finding the Square Root of 4 with Long Division
If you don't have a calculator or computer software available, you'll have to use good old fashioned long division to work out the square root of 4. This was how mathematicians would calculate it long before calculators and computers were invented.
Set up 4 in pairs of two digits from right to left and attach one set of 00 because we want one decimal:
Starting with the first set: the largest perfect square less than or equal to 4 is 4, and the square root of 4 is 2 . Therefore, put 2 on top and 4 at the bottom like this:
Hopefully, this gives you an idea of how to work out the square root using long division so you can calculate future problems by yourself.
Practice Square Roots Using Examples
If you want to continue learning about square roots, take a look at the random calculations in the sidebar to the right of this blog post.
We have listed a selection of completely random numbers that you can click through and follow the information on calculating the square root of that number to help you understand number roots.
Calculate Another Square Root Problem
Enter your number in box A below and click "Calculate" to work out the square root of the given number.