mathematical symbols


The magical world of mathematics, vast and sometimes complex, has its own language, a language that serves to communicate, interpret and solve. In this world of mathematics and in its way of communicating, mathematical symbols participate, which are used to communicate and which lend themselves to analysis and interpretation, they also represent an operation or a concept. Many of the math symbols we use in daily life, such as the series of digits 0,1,2,3, etc., if we refer to 0 as “zero” or “nothing”, or if we use it in a telephone number, we understand its meaning.
Due to its wide field of application, there are many mathematical symbols that in order to be used, it is necessary to know their meaning, once you know what they are for and what they mean, you will have more confidence when undertaking a mathematical operation.
The importance of knowing mathematical symbols and their meaning lies in the need to interpret mathematics. To understand the meaning of the mathematical symbols there are two things that help us:
Context: The context in which you are working, that is, the specific topics being studied.
Convention: It is the event in which the mathematicians and scientists have decided on the particular meaning of the mathematical symbols.
The most common and elementary mathematical symbols are, as mentioned above, those used in everyday life, thus the “+” means more and the “-” means less, among others.
So-called “variables” are another form of math symbols and are used when the quantities take different values. For example, to measure the speed of a car when faced with a distance, as it moves, the speed can vary, which is why the speed would be the variable. To represent quantities of this type, letters are generally used, for example, the letter “v”, a distance would be the letter “d” and the letter “t” for time. These letters are considered as mathematical symbols. It also depends on the context in which they are used, that is, “v” could refer to volume for example, so it is necessary to pay attention to the elements that surround a mathematical symbol and focus on the context.
In various calculations, it is possible to find mathematical symbols represented with letters of the Greek alphabet, for example, “pi” the Greek letter π, which is used to represent the number 3.14159. Generally, α (alpha), β (beta), and θ (theta) are used to represent angles, while the letter “sigma” Σ is used to represent the addition of various numbers.
It is worth mentioning that the positioning of numbers and mathematical symbols in relation to each other also takes on a different meaning, for example, 35o can mean different things in different contexts, it could mean an angle of 35 degrees or 35 to zero power, that is to say, 1.
Other mathematical symbols indicate relationships or numerical complexity, such as the% symbol that means “out of 100”, where 90% means “ninety out of a hundred”. The √ of the square root refers to a number that multiplies by itself, for example, √25, it means 5 or -5 multiplied by itself.


math symbols

The existence of a field as wide as that of mathematics carries with it an extensive number of mathematical symbols, some of them are used for advanced operations that are mixed with physics and statistics. However, in everyday life we ​​find the basic mathematical symbols whose use does not require being a professional mathematician, however, these basic mathematical symbols not only transcend their daily life but also because their knowledge opens the door to venture to more advanced mathematical operations. That is to say, it is the base that largely bases mathematics, without the presence of basic math symbols the world and mathematics would be something different. Some mathematical symbols that are commonly associated with mathematical operations perhaps have as an opening the symbol “+”, the words that are associated with this symbol are: more, add, positive, increase. Although in its “+” form it carries a perhaps implicit meaning, it needs to be understood within the context in which it occurs. For example, if we see the symbol of + in a sum as: 7 + 3, it is understood that the context indicates a sum of the numbers 7 and 3 to give as a result 10. That is, in order to understand the math symbols it is necessary to locate them within a particular context and understand what that context is pointing us to. 

On the other hand, the words that are associated with the symbol “-” is: minus, remove, negative, subtract, decrease. In the same way, as with the math symbol, it is necessary to understand the context in which it is presented. For example, in addition to the basic operation of subtraction, it is possible to observe the symbol in a context such as the following: -3oC, it is referring to a temperature of minus three degrees Celsius, that is 3 degrees below zero. Two other mathematical symbols that stand out for being basic are the “x” and the division symbol. The words that are associated with the symbol “x” are that of a lot or multiply. It is one of the mathematical symbols that denotes a quick way of adding for example if we have: 4 + 4 + 4, it can be translated to 3 × 4, the same applies with quantities associated with a letter like b, if we have b + b + b can be translated as 3xb, it is worth mentioning that in multiplications the symbol can be omitted since 3xb can be equal to 3b. 

For its part, the division can make use of various mathematical symbols, for example, 20 ÷ 4 is equal to 20/4. The mathematical symbol of “=” is another of the basic mathematical symbols that can be used with different variants and applications, for example, in the 2 + 2 = 4 operations, it is being said that what you have on the left side is the same that we have on the right side. The main variations of this mathematical symbol are• ̸ = whose meaning is not equal to.• ≈ whose meaning makes an approximation equal to. • ≥ means is greater than or equal to.• ≤ means is less than or equal to.



Perhaps one of the best-known mathematical symbols is the plus symbol, it has been present throughout history and since ancient times it is possible to observe the symbol that represented “more”, as in the Egyptians where thanks to its hieroglyphs we can now know that in those days they used a pair of legs that walked in the direction of where the text was written. Later in Europe in the early 15th century, the letters “M” and “P” were generally used to represent “more” and “less”, respectively. The book published in 1494 by Luca Pacioli, where he detailed a compendium of mathematics, showed the P and M symbols for the first time, so it can be said that these math symbols were very present during the time.
The symbol “+” is believed to be a simplification of the Latin “et” and could have been derived from a tilde written over the word m when it indicated subtraction. In the year 1518, another early use of the symbol “+” to refer to the operation of addition is appreciated in a book published by Henricus Grammateus. And for the year 1557 it is Robert Recorde, the designer of the equal sign, who introduces the plus and minus signs in Great Britain, in the book known as “The Whetstone of Witte”.


plus symbol

It has been a great historical journey, as it happens with various mathematical symbols to arrive at the one that today represents the plus symbol, which in its broadest version is used to identify positive numbers, also being considered as a binary operator that indicates the operation of addition known as addition, such as 4 + 6 = 10.
The plus symbol can also function as a unitary operator that leaves its operand unchanged, for example in “+ and” which means the same as “and”. This type of representation is generally used to highlight the positivity of a number, especially when a contract is made with its negative part.

And as is the case with the vast majority of math symbols, the plus symbol can also indicate other types of operations, depending on the mathematical system in which it is being used and its particular context, for example in algebra it is possible to find various algebraic structures they have operations equivalent to addition and use the plus symbol to represent them.
The mathematical symbols have the ability to extend to very different operations, this is the best symbol can refer to an exclusive use usually written as “⊕” and represents something like 1 + 1 = 0, 1 + 0 = 1. Or, it is a logical disjunction that is normally written as “∨”.

MINUS Symbol

minus symbol

In the field of mathematical symbols, there are those that are used universally to represent various operations, or different concepts that need to be interpreted, ranging from the most complex to the simplest, whose simplicity lies precisely in being Present in everyday life and being universally accepted, a Japanese knows the same meaning as a Honduran. Such is the case of the less symbol that is part of the wide catalog of mathematical symbols considered as universal and whose application occurs in various fields of mathematics.


The minus symbol has three main uses in the field of mathematics:
1) Subtraction operator: The minus symbol is used as a binary operator that indicates the subtraction operation, for example at 12-10 = 10. Subtraction is the operation inverse to addition or addition.
2) Negative attribute: When the minus symbol is directly in front of a given number, and it is not found indicating that it is subtraction, then it means that said number has the quality of negative, for example, -10 means a 10 negative.
3) Replacement: The minus symbol can also act as a unit operator representing an instruction to replace an operand with its opposite. For example, if x is 4, then -x is -4, but if x is -4 then -x is 4, which can also be represented as – (- 4) which is equal to 4, which is also found present in somewhat more elaborate expressions such as 4 + (- 2) which results in 2 since if four minus two are added together, the result is two.
The three mentioned uses are referred to as “less” in everyday speech, the language generally states that, for example, -4 is named as “negative four”, however, the use of the expression “minus four” is also widespread, both Expressions are accepted and will depend on the scientific rigor in which they are used to denote the quality of good or evil.
The previous thing makes us see that to refer to the math symbols a protocol must be followed, which, as mentioned, will depend on the scientific rigor in which the person is, there are cases in which an expression such as -x is expressed as “the position of x”, or as “the additive inverse of x ”, this is done in order not to fall into the error of believing that x has a negative attribute, with a view to providing certainty in operations.


divide symbol

Division is the mathematical operation where two numbers take part whose law to follow involves combining these numbers to find out how many times a quantity known as a “dividend” contains another quantity called a “divisor”. If a number is not zero, the division of that number is the reciprocal of the multiplication by that number. 

In order to symbolize a division, throughout history there has not been a single math symbol that denotes a division, in fact, the current symbol of the division has gone through a historical and interpretive process.


In the fourth century, Roman civilization and Diophantus of Alexandria – considered the father of algebra – wrote fractions that resembled division. A modern 12th-century notation was made based on Arabic notations.

In the year of 1544 the use of parenthesis is established, when it was used by Michal Stifel in his book of Arithmetic, where the writing symbolized division was something like 4) 24.  For example, three-fourths were described as 03:04, the division symbol was not used as dissociated from the idea of ​​a fraction.

In 1659 the symbol ÷ was used for the first time to represent the division, its creation is due to the Swiss mathematician Johann Rahn in his book of Algebra, this book was translated into English and edited in 1668 by means of which the symbol is incorporated to Great Britain.

For the year 1888, the horizontal bar is used in the algebra books, which is almost attached to the upper part of the support, where the quotient is written on the bar.

Currently the symbol of division is a horizontal line that is responsible for separating the numerator -dividendo- from the denominator -divisor-. Other symbols such as ÷ and / are also used.

A commonly accepted expression is something like: a ÷ b, a: b, where an operation is denoted, and the proper vocabulary refers to a dividend and the divisor of b. For its part, a / b implies the fractional result of this operation, and the appropriate vocabulary includes concepts such as a numerator and a denominator b.

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