# Definition:Subtraction/Historical Note

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## Historical Note on Subtraction

The symbol $-$ for subtraction originated in commerce, along with the symbol $+$ for addition, where they were used by German merchants to distinguish underweight and overweight items.

These symbols first appeared in print in $1481$.

However, Regiomontanus was the first to use it in its current shape, in an unpublished manuscript from $1456$.

## Sources

- 2005: Clifford A. Pickover:
*A Passion for Mathematics*... (previous): Numbers, History, Society, and People: The symbols of mathematics - 2008: Ian Stewart:
*Taming the Infinite*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $4$: Lure of the Unknown: Algebraic symbolism