Basic symbols in Mathematics and Statistics
September 18, 2016
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Basic math symbols
Symbol

Symbol Name

Meaning / definition

Example

=

equals sign

equality

3 = 1+2
3 is equal to 1+2 
≠

not equal sign

inequality

2 ≠ 3
2 is not equal to 2 
≈

approximately equal

approximation

sin(0.01) ≈ 0.01,
x ≈ y means x is approximately equal to y 
>

strict inequality

greater than

3 > 2
3 is greater than 2 
<

strict inequality

less than

2 < 3
2 is less than 3 
≥

inequality

greater than or equal to

5 ≥ 4,
x ≥ y means x is greater than or equal to y 
≤

inequality

less than or equal to

4 ≤ 5,
x ≤ y means x is greater than or equal to y 
( )

parentheses

calculate expression inside first

2 × (3+5) = 16

[ ]

brackets

calculate expression inside first

[(1+2)*(1+5)] = 18

+

plus sign

addition

1 + 1 = 2

−

minus sign

subtraction

2 − 1 = 1

±

plus – minus

both plus and minus operations

3 ± 5 = 8 and 2

∓

minus – plus

both minus and plus operations

3 ∓ 5 = 2 and 8

*

asterisk

multiplication

2 * 3 = 6

×

times sign

multiplication

2 × 3 = 6

∙

multiplication dot

multiplication

2 ∙ 3 = 6

÷

division sign / obelus

division

6 ÷ 2 = 3

/

division slash

division

6 / 2 = 3

–

horizontal line

division / fraction


mod

modulo

remainder calculation

7 mod 2 = 1

.

period

decimal point, decimal separator

2.56 = 2+56/100

a^{b}

power

exponent

2^{3 }= 8

a^b

caret

exponent

2 ^ 3^{ }= 8

√a

square root

√a · √a = a

√9 = ±3

^{3}√a

cube root

^{3}√a · ^{3}√a · ^{3}√a = a

^{3}√8 = 2

^{4}√a

fourth root

^{4}√a · ^{4}√a · ^{4}√a · ^{4}√a = a

^{4}√16 = ±2

^{n}√a

nth root (radical)

for n=3, ^{n}√8 = 2


%

percent

1% = 1/100

10% × 30 = 3

‰

permille

1‰ = 1/1000 = 0.1%

10‰ × 30 = 0.3

ppm

permillion

1ppm = 1/1000000

10ppm × 30 = 0.0003

ppb

perbillion

1ppb = 1/1000000000

10ppb × 30 = 3×10^{7}

ppt

pertrillion

1ppt = 10^{12}

10ppt × 30 = 3×10^{10}

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