Maths

# Basic Maths Symbols, How Many Symbols Are There in Maths?

Written by Prerit Jain

Updated on: 30 Sep 2024

Contents

### Basic Maths Symbols, How Many Symbols Are There in Maths?

Maths symbols are used to perform mathematical operations and make it easier to solve mathematical problems for students. Mathematical symbols are the basic building blocks for solving huge mathematical problems. Without using mathematical symbols, we can’t think of doing math or solving problems.

Each symbol has a special meaning along with the role it plays in solving any equation or problem. There are many symbols in mathematics, from basic ones to complex ones. But, in order to understand complex symbols and solve equations using those symbols, you must know about the basic symbols and their meanings. In this article, let us discuss the basic math symbols and how to use them. Scroll down to find out more.

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**All Maths symbols and their names**

The following are some basic mathematical symbols along with their meanings and examples:

**Equal sign**

**Representation of the symbol: =**

Equal Sign Meaning: It is used to represent two equal values or the equality of the given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 10 and b = 10. Here, a is equal to b because both have the same values, so it can be represented as, a=b.

**Not equal to sign**

**Representation of the symbol: ≠**

Not Equal Sign Meaning: It is used to represent two unequal values or the inequality of the given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 10 and b = 12. Here, a is not equal to b because both do not have the same values, so it can be represented as, a≠b.

**Plus sign**

**Representation of the symbol: +**

Plus Sign Meaning: It is used to perform the addition between two given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 2 and b = 3. In order to find the addition of a and b, we use the plus sign. It can be represented as, a+b=2+3=5.

**Minus sign**

**Representation of the symbol: –**

Minus Sign Meaning: It is used to perform the subtraction between two given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 5 and b = 3. In order to find the subtraction of a and b, we use the plus sign. It can be represented as, a-b = 5-3=2.

**Multiplication sign or asterisk or multiplication dot**

**Representation of the symbol: × , *, .**

Multiplication Sign Meaning: It is used to perform the multiplication between two given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 5 and b = 2. In order to find the multiplication of a and b, we can use any of the above-mentioned signs. It can be represented as, a×b=5×2=10, or a*b=5*2=10, or a.b=5.2=10.

**Division sign or division slash**

**Representation of the symbol: ÷, /**

Division Sign Meaning: It is used to perform the division between two given values.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 8 and b = 2. In order to find the division of a and b, we can use any of the above-mentioned signs. It can be represented as, a÷b=8÷2=4, or a/b=8/2=4.

**Less than sign**

**Representation of the Symbol: <**

Less Than Sign Meaning: It is used to check which of the two given values is less than the other value. While using this symbol, we always focus on the left-hand side of the symbol and compare it with the value on the right-hand side of the symbol.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 2 and b = 9. In order to check which value is less between a and b, we can use the less than sign. Since 2 is less than 9, it can be represented as 2<9 or a<b.

**Greater than sign**

**Representation of the symbol: >**

Greater Than Sign Meaning: It is used to check which of the two given values is greater than the other value. While using this symbol, we always focus on the left-hand side of the symbol and compare it with the value on the right-hand side of the symbol.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 7 and b = 1. In order to check which value is greater between a and b, we can use the greater than sign. Since 7 is greater than 1, it can be represented as 7>1 or a>b.

**Less than or equal to sign**

**Representation of the symbol: ≤**

Less Than or Equal to Sign Meaning: It is used to check whether the given value is equal to or less than the given limit or not. While using this symbol, we always focus on the left-hand side of the symbol and compare it with the value on the right-hand side of the symbol.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 7 and b = 15. In order to check whether a is less than or equal to b or not, we can use the less than or equal sign. Since 7 is less than 15, it can be represented as 7≤15 or a≤b. Even if a = 15, we can still use this sign and represent it as 15 ≤ 15.

**Greater than or equal to sign**

**Representation of the symbol: ≥**

Greater Than or Equal To Meaning: It is used to check whether the given value is equal to or greater than the given limit or not. While using this symbol, we always focus on the left-hand side of the symbol and compare it with the value on the right-hand side of the symbol.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a = 23 and b = 17. In order to check whether a is greater than or equal to b or not, we can use the greater than or equal sign. Since 23 is greater than 17, it can be represented as, 23 ≥ 17 or a ≥ b. Even if b = 23, we can still use this sign and represent it as 23 ≥ 23.

**Parenthesis or brackets**

**Representation of the symbol: ( ),[ ]**

Parenthesis or Brackets Meaning: Whenever we use any parenthesis or brackets to represent any expression, it means that we have to first solve that equation and then proceed further.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have three variables, a, b, and c, where a = 5, b = 1, and c = 6. If a given expression is (a+b)*c, then first we will solve (a+b) because it is enclosed in brackets and then multiply the result with c.

It can be represented as, (a+b)*c=(5+1)*6=6*6=36.

**Power or exponent**

**Representation of the symbol: a^b**

Power or Exponent Meaning: a^b means a power b, which means, that a is multiplied with itself by b times.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have two variables, a and b, where a=3 and b=2. If a given expression is a^b, then first we will multiply a with itself by b times.

It can be represented as a^b=3^2=3*3=9

**Square root**

Representation of the symbol: √a

Square root Meaning: √a means when any number (positive or negative) is multiplied by itself under the root, it should give as the result. So, the square root of a will be that number.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have a variable, a, which is equal to 81. If we have to find √a which means √81, we will first find a number (positive or negative) such that when we multiply that number by itself, it will give 81 as a result.

In this case, that number will be 9 and -9. It can be represented as, 9 * 9 = 81

(-9) * (-9) = 81

So, √81 = ±9

Hence, the square root of 81 is 9 and -9.

**Cube root**

Representation of the symbol: ∛a

Cube Root Meaning: ∛a means when any positive number is multiplied by itself thrice under the root, it should give as the result. So, the cube root of a will be that number.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have a variable, a which is equal to 125. If we have to find ∛a which means ∛125, so first we will find a positive number such that when we multiply that number with itself thrice, it will give 125 as the result.

In this case, that number will be 5. It can be represented as,

5 * 5 * 5 = 125

So, ∛125 = 5

Hence, the cube root of 125 is 5.

**Percentage**

**Representation of the symbol: %**

Percentage Meaning: % is a number that can be expressed as a fraction of 100. The percentage of a number is calculated by dividing the asked percentage number by 100 and then multiplying by the given number.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have to find 2% of 10, so we will divide 2 by 100 and then multiply by 10. It can be represented as,

2% of 10 = 2/100 * 10 = 0.2

So, 2% of 10 = 0.2

**Ratio**

**Representation of the symbol:- a:b**

Ratio Meaning: Ratio is used to compare two or more quantities of the same unit. The ratio symbol is read as ‘is to’. If a ratio is given like a:b, so it will be read as a is to b. The ratio a:b can also be represented as a/b.

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have given a statement as, in a coffee house, there are 18 men and 20 women. So, the ratio of the number of men to the number of women in the coffee house is 18:20 because the total number of men in the coffee house is 18 and the total number of women in the coffee house is 20.

The final ratio is 18:20, or by dividing 2 on both sides, it can also be written as 18/20=9/10=9:10.

**Proportion**

**Representation of the symbol:- ∷**

Proportion Meaning: When two given ratios are equal, they are said to be in proportion or proportional to each other.

It is represented as,

**a:b∷c:d=>a:b=c:d or a:b∷c:d=>a/b=c/d**

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have given a statement as, 20:9∷5:x, find the value of x.

As we know, 20/9=5/x, so b cross-multiplying, we get,

20*x=5*9

20x=45

x=45/20

On dividing by 5 to numerator and denominator, we get:

x=9/4

**Factorial sign**

**Representation of the symbol: n!**

Factorial Meaning: Factorial of a positive integer n is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n.

**Formula for factorial: n!=n*(n-1)*(n-2)*…*1**

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have to find the value of 5!. Here, n=5

So, 5!=5*(5-1)*(5-2)*(5-3)*1=5*4*3*2*1=120

Hence, 5!=120

**Permutation sign**

**Representation of the symbol: P(n,k)= nPk**

Permutation Meaning: Permutation is an arrangement of objects in a definite order where n is the total number of objects and k is the number of objects selected.

**Formula for permutation: nPk =n!/(n-k)!**

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have to find the value of P(3,2). Here, n=3 and k=2.

So, P(3,2)=3!/(3-2)!=3!/1!=3!=3*2*1=6

Hence, P(3,2)=6

**Combination sign**

**Representation of the symbol: C(n,k)=nCk**

Combination Meaning: Combination is the number of possible arrangements in a collection of items where the order of selection does not matter where n is the total number of objects in the set and k is the number of choosing objects from the set.

**Formula for permutation: nCk =n!/k!(n-k)!**

**Example:**

Let’s consider we have to find the value of C(10,3). Here, n=10 and k=3.

So, C(10,3)=10!/3!(10-3)!=10!/(3!*7!)=(10*9*8*7!)/(3!*7!)

7! will get canceled from the numerator and denominator, so

C(10,3)=(10*9*8)/(3*2)=120

Hence, C(10,3)=120.

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**FAQs**

**Which mathematical symbol is used for counting and measuring? **Numerical values are used for counting and measuring. A numeral is a notational symbol that represents any number. In simple terms, the way of writing a number is known as a numeral.

**What is another symbol for division other than ÷?**Another symbol used for division other than ÷ is slash. It is represented as /.

**What is the approximate symbol? **The approximation is represented by using ≅ symbol. The approximate symbol is used when a value is very close to another value.

For example, 64/5=12.8≅13. 12.8 is very close to 13, so it is 12.8 is approximately equal to 13.

**What are even and odd numbers? **Numbers that are multiples of two are known as even numbers. All numbers, other than even numbers, are known as odd numbers.

**How to check whether a number is even or odd? **If a number is completely divisible by 2, then that number is an even number, else it is an odd number.

For example, 4 is an even number because 4/2=2, and 7 is an odd number because 7/2=3.5

**What do N, W, and Z mean in mathematical terms? **N is used to represent natural numbers. Natural numbers are numbers starting from 1 and going to infinity.

W is used to represent whole numbers. Whole numbers are numbers starting from 0 and going to infinity.

Z is used to represent integers. All positive and negative numbers, including 0 are called integers.

**What does the ^ symbol mean in mathematics? **^ is known as a caret in mathematical terms. It works the same as the exponent symbol. It is a logical symbol.

For example, 4^3 = 4*4*4 = 64

**Which symbols are used for basic arithmetic operations? **Symbols used for basic arithmetic operations are addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (×), and division (÷).

**What does i mean in mathematics? **In mathematics, i is known as the imaginary unit. It is basically used when representing complex numbers. The value of i is √(-1).

**What is ∝ means in mathematics? **∝ is known as a proportionality symbol in mathematics. If we say a is directly proportional to b, then it is represented as a∝ b and if we say a is indirectly proportional to b, then it is represented as a∝1/b.

We hope this article on Maths symbols is helpful to you and has resolved your queries related to Maths symbols!

Written by by

Prerit Jain