Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development. The word comes from the Ancient Greek ἀνάλυσις (analysis, “a breaking-up” or “an untying;” from ana- “up, throughout” and lysis “a loosening”). From it also comes the word’s plural, analyses.