Math Symbols
© 2006 RogueTurtle.com
If you have forgotten what they mean...
Or never knew what they were in the first place...
New math  Bah, Humbug! Unfortunately, more and more technical articles are being written by people with a newer education than I possess. In the 1950's, there was no such thing as <. I know there wasn't because I was there and I paid (at least a little) attention. Ok, Ok, I did really poor in math, but I know that sometime during those horrible years of 2 + 2 = 4, I would have remembered <.
Heck, I would have used it because it is charmingly "vague". What is 3 + 5  1? My answer: < 4. I'm right, up to a point. Ok, technically it's wrong, but you get my drift. New signs and symbols are used now that I never learned and if I did ever learn, I have forgotten.
π: I remember this one because when we first learned it I thought we were having Greek food in school. I didn't find out I was wrong for 6 more grade levels. What's it for, anyway?
Here's a cheat sheet for all of you out there who use such things. I know there are more of us out there than admit to it. Come on, print it out and hide it. I won't tell.
Symbol  What it is  How it is read  How it is used  Sample 
*  Multiplication  Times  Product of two values  3 x 5 = 15 
•  Multiplication  Times  Product of two values  3 • 5 = 15 
±  Plus/minus sign  Plus or minus  Expression of range, error or tolerance  500 kbps ± 10% 
/  Slash  Divided by Over  Division  3 / 4 = 0.75 
÷  Division Sign  Divided by  Division  3 ÷ 4 = 0.75 
~  Similarity Sign  Is similar to  Indicates 2 objects are geometrically similar  ABC ~ DEF 
<  Inequality sign  Is less than  Indicates left value is smaller than right value  3 < 5,
X < Y 
≤  Inequality sign  Is less than or equal to...
Is at most equal to  Indicates left value is smaller than or equal to right value  X ≤ Y 
>  Inequality sign  Is greater than  Indicates value on left is larger than value on right  5 > 3,
X > Y 
≥  Inequality sign  Is greater than or equal to  Indicates left value is larger than or equal to right value  X ≥ Y
 π  Greek pi (lowercase)  pi  General science  π = 3.14159... 


