We are looking for the "proper" name of the "box" that is drawn around the dividend on a division problem:


It has always been a family joke to call it the "goesinta" box, but a search of several reference sources hasn't yielded an answer --

This is a question of curiosity rather than a question for homework.

We appreciate any help you can give us on this question. Thank you!

Bridget - age 8

Hi Bridget,

"Goesinta box" is quite a nice name. My source Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols says that this symbolism for division appeared in the last century, and that it developed gradually. (On this page, click on "operations" and then scroll down to "division symbols".) The "Goesinta box" may even not have any other name. The closest might be to say "right parenthesis followed by a vinculum over the dividend".

As you will see on the web site mentioned above, symbols in use today can be traced to the old books where they first appeared. For it to become standardized, the name Goesinta box would have to appear in math textbooks, and people would have to love it enough for the name to stay. Then, maybe in 50 years, other children would be wondering who was Mrs Goesinta.

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