# Definition:Symmetric Relation

## Definition

Let $\RR \subseteq S \times S$ be a relation in $S$.

### Definition 1

$\RR$ is **symmetric** if and only if:

- $\tuple {x, y} \in \RR \implies \tuple {y, x} \in \RR$

### Definition 2

$\RR$ is **symmetric** if and only if it equals its inverse:

- $\RR^{-1} = \RR$

### Definition 3

$\mathcal R$ is **symmetric** if and only if it is a subset of its inverse:

- $\mathcal R \subseteq \mathcal R^{-1}$

## Examples

### Brotherhood Relation

Let $P$ be the set of male people.

Let $\sim$ be the relation on $P$ defined as:

- $\forall \tuple {x, y} \in P \times P: x \sim y \iff \text { $x$ is a brother of $y$}$

Then $\sim$ is a symmetric relation.

This does not hold if $P$ is the set of *all* people.

Because if $a$ is male and $b$ are brother and sister, then:

- $a \sim b$

but:

- $b \not \sim a$

### Opposite Gender Relation

Let $P$ be the set of people.

Let $\sim$ be the relation on $P$ defined as:

- $\forall \tuple {x, y} \in P \times P: x \sim y \iff \text { $x$ of the opposite gender to $y$}$

(This assumes that gender is binary and well-defined.)

Then $\sim$ is a symmetric relation.

However, $\sim$ is antireflexive and antitransitive.

### Distance Less than 1

Let $\sim$ be the relation on the set of real numbers $\R$ defined as:

- $x \sim y \iff \size {x - y} < 1$

Then $\sim$ is symmetric and reflexive, but not transitive.

## Also see

- Results about
**symmetry of relations**can be found here.