mathematical division symbol

An obelus (plural, obeli) is a symbol of a line with dots above and below, , and is used to represent the division operation in mathematics.[1][2][3] Because of that, this symbol is also known as a division sign.

The word "obelus" comes from the Greek word for a sharpened stick, spit, or pointed pillar. This is the same root as that of the word "obelisk". The obelus was first used as a symbol for division in 1659, in the algebra book Teutsche Algebra by Johann Rahn. Today, the obelus is used occasionally, mostly as a standalone symbol for the division operation itself (as on a calculator), or as an operator in elementary arithmetic. In most cases, division is now represented using other ways, often by a forward slash (/), also known as "solidus".[2]

Related pagesEdit


  1. "Compendium of Mathematical Symbols". Math Vault. 2020-03-01. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weisstein, Eric W. "Division". mathworld.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  3. "Division". www.mathsisfun.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.

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