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Uploaded on on Jun 17, 2021

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The plus and minus signs, + and -, are mathematical symbols used to represent the concepts of positive and negative, respectively. In addition, + represents the addition of operation, which leads to a sum, while – represents the subtraction, which leads to a difference. Their use has been extended to many other, more or less similar meanings. Plus and minus are Latin terms meaning “more” and “less,” respectively.

History

Although the characters now seem familiar as an alphabet or Hindu-Arabic numerals, they are not from ancient times. For example, the Egyptian hieroglyphic sign for addition, resembles a pair of legs that go in the direction the text was written (Egyptian could be written from right to left or left to right), with the opposite sign indicating the decrease.

Nicole Oresme’s 14th-century manuscripts show what may have been one of the oldest uses of + as a plus sign.

At the beginning of the 15th century in Europe, the letters “P” and “M” were commonly used. The symbols (P with overline, p̄, for più (more) i.e., plus and M with overline, m̄, for meno (less), i.e., minus) appear for the first time in Luca Pacioli’s mathematics collection, Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità, first printed and published in Venice in 1494.

The + sign is a simplification of the Latin: et (comparable to the development of ampersand &). – may be derived from a tilde written above ⟨m⟩ when used to indicate a decrease, or it may come from a shorthand version of the letter ⟩m⟩ itself.

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In his treatise of 1489, Johannes Widmann indicates the symbols – and + as minus and mer (Modern German mehr; “more” ): “was – ist, das ist minus, und das + ist das mer.” They were not used for addition and subtraction in the treatise, but they’ were used to indicate surplus and deficit; their first use in their modern sense appears in a book by Henricus Grammateus in 1518.

Robert Recorde, the designer of the equal sign, introduced the plus and minuses of Great Britain in 1557 in The Whetstone of Witte: “There are two other signs that are often used, the first of which is made in this way + and more: the other is made betokeneth lesse.”

Plus sign

The plus sign is a binary operator that indicates addition, as at 2 + 3 = 5. It can also serve as a unary operator that leaves its operand unchanged (+xmeans the same as x). This notation can be used when you want to emphasize the positivity of a number, especially in contrast to negative numbers (+5 vs. -5).

The plus sign can indicate many other operations, depending on the mathematical system in question. Many algebraic structures, such as vector spaces and matrix rings, have a certain operation called or equivalent to addition. However, it is common to use a plus sign only to indicate commutative operations.

The symbol is also used in chemistry and physics. For more information, see § Other applications.

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