[PLUG-TALK] Name of the division symbol

Dale Snell ddsnell at frontier.com
Wed Apr 22 11:51:30 PDT 2015


On Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:39:13 -0700, in message
5537DCC1.8000008 at dicksteffens.com, Dick Steffens wrote:

> Thanks to Dale Snell, over on the standard PLUG list I learned a
> word, pilcrow, the symbol indicating a paragraph. I've known the
> symbol for years but never thought about it having a name.
> 
> So, with that in mind, does anyone know the name of the division
> symbol, the one with a dot above and below a dash?
> 


Obelus, descended from ὀβελός, the same Greek root as "obelisk".

I had to look it up on Wikipedia, since groff_char(7) just called
it "division".  Then again, that's what the Unicode Consortium
calls it.

The slash character, "/", when used for division is called a
"solidus".  (The backslash, "\", is unsurprisingly a "reverse
solidus".)  When used in text, it's likely to be called a
"virgule".  Typographically, the solidus is more horizontal (~45°)
than the virgule (~15° to my eye), and probably thinner.

Just to confuse matters, the Unicode Consortium named the virgule
"solidus".  This was an error, and they know it.  But since a code
point, once named, cannot be renamed, they created another one
called "fraction slash", which is to be used as the real solidus.
Ain't standards fun?

And now you know.  :-)

--Dale

-- 
"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even
one which cannot be justified on any other grounds."
		-- J. Finnegan, USC.
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