What Is the Division Sign Called?

The commonly used division symbol “/” is called a “solidus” or “virgule,” while an “obelus” appears like a hyphen with dots above and below it. Another division notation is the “vinculum,” which is a horizontal line that is sometimes referred to as a “fractional bar.”

The earliest known usage of the “obelus” was in the 1659 publication of the Swiss mathematician Johann Heinrich Rahn’s book, “Teutsche Algebr.” In computers, a virgule is also called a “forward slash,” which is one of the keys in a standard keyboard. Aside from being a mathematical sign, the “virgule” is also used as a separator in various date formats.