Pairwise coprime

Pairwise coprime

In mathematics, especially number theory, a set of integers is said to be pairwise coprime (or pairwise relatively prime, also known as mutually coprime) if every pair of integers "a" and "b" in the set are coprime (that is, have no common divisors other than 1). The concept of pairwise coprimality is important in applications of the Chinese remainder theorem and the proof for x3 + y3 + z3 = 0 has no nonzero integer solutions.


A set of integers {p1,p2,p3,...,pn} is pairwise coprime ⇔ gcd(pi,pj) = 1 where pi,pj ∈ {p1,p2,p3,...,pn} and pi ≠ pj


The set {10, 7, 33, 13} is pairwise coprime, because any pair of the numbers have greatest common divisor equal to 1:: (10, 7) = (10, 33) = (10, 13) = (7, 33) = (7, 13) = (33, 13) = 1.Here the notation ("a", "b") means the greatest common divisor of "a" and "b".

On the other hand, the integers 10, 7, 33, 14 are "not" pairwise coprime, because (10, 14) = 2 ≠ 1 (or indeed because (7, 14) = 7 ≠ 1).


It is permissible to say "the integers 10, 7, 33, 13 are pairwise coprime", rather than the more exacting "the set of integers {10, 7, 33, 13} is pairwise coprime".

"Pairwise coprime" vs "coprime"

The concept of pairwise coprimality is stronger than that of coprimality. The latter indicates that the greatest common divisor of "all" integers in the set is 1. For example, the integers 6, 10, 15 are coprime (because the only positive integer dividing "all" of them is 1), but they are not "pairwise" coprime because (6, 10) = 2, (10, 15) = 5 and (6, 15) = 3. On the other hand if some integers are pairwise coprime then they are certainly coprime, i.e. pairwise coprimality implies coprimality but not vice versa. To prove the implication it is sufficient to note that any common divisor of all the integers can only be 1 (otherwise pairwise coprimality will be violated).

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