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A CDE Definition

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transitive dependency

An indirect relationship between data elements in a database. The rule is essentially that A is a transitive dependency of C (A->C) if A is functionally dependent on B (A->B), and B is functionally dependent on C (B->C) but not on A (B not->A).

For Example
Social security number is a transitive dependency of date-of-birth (SSN->DOB), because social security number is dependent on employee name (SSN->EMP), and employee name is dependent on date-of-birth (EMP->DOB) but not on social security number (there may be more than one John Smith or Maria Gomez). See functional dependency.

Eliminate Transitive Dependencies
When designing a database, the goal is to achieve "third normal form" by eliminating transitive dependencies in each table. See normalization.

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