Subject: Division sign

A fellow teacher recently asked if I remembered the exact word for a division bracket (not the symbol with dots, the horizontal line in a fraction, or a solidus). I couldn't. Can you help?

By the way, I was directed to this site by Laura at "Ask Dr. Math." I'm delighted to find it and will pass it on to my fellow middle school teachers.


Hi Judy

We received a similar question some time ago which is maybe why Laura directed you here. That question was Could you tell me the name for the bar in a division problem?

A good reference for this type of question is the Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols which is a resource put together by Jeff Miller partly from the replies sent to a question he asked the math-history-list at the Math Forum.

In Jeff's resource list is the following entry:

DIVISION SYMBOL - CLOSE PARENTHESIS AND VINCULUM was first used by Michael Stifel in 1544 in Arithmetica integra.

Vinculum is a line or brace drawn over a quantity consisting of several members or terms, in order to connect them so "CLOSE PARENTHESIS AND VINCULUM" is

 ______             ______
)         as in   5) 60

Walter anf Harley

Go to Math Central

To return to the previous page use your browser's back button.