n copies of a combined by exponentiation, right-to-left.
Here, succession (a′ = a + 1) is the most basic operation; addition (a + n) is a primary operation, though for natural numbers it can be thought of as a chained succession of n successors of a; multiplication ((a × n) is also a primary operation, though for natural numbers it can be thought of as a chained addition involving n numbers a. Exponentiation () can be thought of as a chained multiplication involving n numbers a, and analogously, tetration () can be thought of as a chained power involving n numbers a. Each of the operations above are defined by iterating the previous one; however, unlike the operations before it, tetration is not an elementary function.
The parameter a may be called the base-parameter in the following, while the parameter n in the following may be called the height-parameter (which is integral in the first approach but may be generalized to fractional, real and complex heights, see below). Tetration is read as "the nth tetration of a".