17 Usual Symbols and their Meaning

Here we explain Usual Symbols and their Meaning that you may have come across. And don’t worry if you see symbols you haven’t seen before, there’s definitely something for you to learn about as you read on.

Symbols we encounter everyday carry meaning and sometimes message while saving space. Rather than saying or writing something as a whole, a symbol can be used to convey the same message instead, saving us the stress.

But, do you really know the meaning of the symbols you use? Or you just use it to represent what you mean because it fits the expression. Well, you don’t have to be confused anymore with your choice of symbols because, in today’s article, that’s what you find out.

Usual Symbols and their Meaning

Here are 17 common and usual symbols and their meanings..

17. Similarity

Similarity. symbols and their meaning
Similarity Symbols

The similarity symbol comes up at nmber 17 on our list as one of the usual symbols we encounter everyday but may not know what it means. It is used to signify objects with similar shape but not similar size. So, next time you see this symbol, you now know what it means and can use it properly.

16. Triangle

Triangle, symbols and their meaning
Triangle Symbols

When most people see a triangle, what comes to the mind first is a Pyramid. But, not all triangle symbols represent a Pyramid. In fact, a combo triangle symbol indicates polygon with three vertices and the line segments as edges. Now you know!

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15. Parallel

Parallel, symbols and their meaning
Parallel Symbols

When you see parallel lines, don’t mistake its meaning for bars in a cell or prison. It indicates the lines that are equidistant from each other.

14. Perpendicular

Perpendicular Symbols

I used to get confused whenever I come across the Perpendicular symbol about what it means, or what is it used for. But, in doing my research I found out that it symbolizes lines that are at right angles to each other. Funny! I used to think it was an inverted ‘T’.

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13. Degree Symbol

Degree Symbol, symbols and their meaning
Degree Symbol

The Degree symbol is very common when the temperature is concerned. But still, many people don’t seem to actually know what it means. It indicates the measurement of plane angle representing one full rotation.

12. Right Angle

Right Angle, symbols and their meaning

It indicates the angle that bisects the angle formed by two straight lines.

11. Greater Than

Greater Than, symbols and their meaning
Greater Than Symbols

The greater than sign can be easily mistaken for an arrow direction symbol. But, it’s a symbol that shows one value is greater than the other. How easy is that?

10. The Less Than Sign

The Less Than Sign
The Less Than Sign Symbols

The Less than sign is the opposite of the greater than sign. It implies one value is less than the other.

9. Plus-minus/Minus – plus

Plus - minus/Minus - plus

These symbols can be really confusing because they look like Chinese writings. A person might see them and easily think “Oh! That’s a Chinese word for something.”But, the first symbol actually means that value can be both plus and minus. And the second shows that one value is greater than the other.

8. Brackets and Parentheses

Brackets and Parentheses
Brackets and Parentheses Symbols

These symbols don’t look the same, but they carry the same meaning that is unknown to many. When you see Brackets or Parenthesis, it implies calculation of the equation inside it should be carried out first.

7. Per-mille

Per-mille Symbols

Have you seen the Per-mille symbol before? Anywhere? It usually looks like a percentage symbol but with double zeros as the denominator. If you’re not, then now you have. And It symbolizes the number of parts per thousand. So, in case you see it anywhere, you now know what it means.

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6. Equivalence


The Equivalence symbol simply indicates that the variables are having same or identical value.

5. Approximation

Approximation Symbols

It symbolizes variables that are approximately equal to each other. But if you spot just one approximation line, it then means It symbolizes variables that are approximately equal to each other.

4. Lemniscate/Infinity symbol

Lemniscate/Infinity symbol

Infinity means limitless. So, next time you see this symbol, know that it indicates a variable without any limit.

3. Sigma (Summation)

Sigma (Summation

This symbol is not the letter ‘E’. It’s the Sigma symbol which refers to the summation of all values in the specified range.

2. E constant / Euler’s number

 E constant / Euler's number, symbols and their meaning
E constant / Euler’s number Symbols

And like the Sigma symbol which looks E alphabet. This symbol is also not a small alphabet E But is a constant or Euler’s number. Its value is equal to 2.718281828

1. Golden ratio constant

Golden ratio constant,symbols and their meaning
Golden ratio constant Symbols

Last, but certainly not the least, is the Golden ratio constant. So, just in case you never came across this symbol before, or you have but don’t know what it means. It indicates the ratio of two variables should be equal to the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two variables.

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So, we’ve been able to give the meaning of 17 usual and common symbols you likely may come across daily. There are still lots more of these symbols but we have limited our mention to these 17. Be sure to share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the comment section.

About the author

David Samuel

David Samuel is the Senior Writer for Porumba. He is a writer, Economist and loves research.

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