# Symbols:Arithmetic and Algebra/Division

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## Division

- $\div$, $/$

A binary operation on two numbers or variables.

$x \div y$ and $x / y$ both mean **$x$ divided by $y$**, or $x \times y^{-1}$.

$x / y$ can also be rendered $\dfrac x y$ (and often is -- it tends to improve comprehension for complicated expressions).

$x \div y$ is rarely seen outside grade school.

Their $\LaTeX$ codes are as follows:

- The $\LaTeX$ code for \(x \div y\) is
`x \div y`

. - The $\LaTeX$ code for \(x / y\) is
`x / y`

. - The $\LaTeX$ code for \(\dfrac {x} {y}\) is
`\dfrac {x} {y}`

.

## Also known as

The **division sign** $\div$ is also known as a **obelus**.

The $/$ sign is known as the **solidus**.

## Historical Note

The **division sign** $\div$ first appeared in print in $1659$ in *Teutsche Algebra* by Johann Heinrich Rahn.

The **solidus** sign $/$ was recommended by Augustus De Morgan in $1845$ as a way to simplify the printing of fractions.

## Sources

- 1989: Ephraim J. Borowski and Jonathan M. Borwein:
*Dictionary of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next):**division sign** - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next):**division sign** - 2021: Richard Earl and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(6th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Appendix $19$: Symbols and abbreviations: Real and Complex Numbers