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Re: st: "Proper" usage: Univariate, bivariate, multivariate, multivariable

From   Austin Nichols <>
To   "" <>
Subject   Re: st: "Proper" usage: Univariate, bivariate, multivariate, multivariable
Date   Tue, 15 Oct 2013 16:15:58 -0400


In many dictionaries, variate==variable (see also papers from the
1920s and 30s).  And biviariate means two variables, whatever that
means, in whatever context.  Why not stick with multi-outcome and
multi-predictor, or multi-regressand and multi-regressor, or somesuch?
 E.g. a single-regressand and multi-regressor model, or a
multi-regressand and single-regressor model?

On Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 3:51 PM, Nicole Boyle <> wrote:
> Hello all,
> There are some terms commonly used in the literature that seem (to me)
> technically misused. Nick Cox addressed a similar question
> previously*, but I'm unfortunately still confused as to the proper
> usage of these terms.
> My understanding:
> (1) Multivariable: Model with more than one exposure var and one outcome var.
> (2) Multivariate: Model with one or more exposure vars and multiple
> outcome vars.
> (3) Multivariable model != Multivariate model
> (4) Univariate: Not a true model, but just looks at distribution of
> one "exposure" var within a group. This method may be repeated across
> multiple groups, e.g. demographics table with no test statistics. (In
> my humble opinion, this should be instead termed "univariable" to
> indicate a single variable, since "univariate" seems to imply a model
> with one outcome variable and an undefined number of exposure vars.)
> (5) Bivariate: Model with one exposure var and one outcome var. (In my
> very novice opinion, this should instead be termed "bivariable" to
> indicate two variables, since "bivariate" seems to imply two outcome
> variables with an undefined number of exposure vars.)
> (6) Univariate!=Bivariate
> I've decided to run this by you all while writing what feels like a
> strange sentence: "Univariate and multivariable Cox proportional
> hazards models..." Perhaps this should be "Bivariate and
> multivariable" or even "Bivariable and multivariable"?
> What would be considered proper usage (where "proper usage" might be
> defined as technically correct, or might even be defined as
> technically incorrect but widely accepted)?
> Thanks so much for your consideration,
> Nicole Boyle
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