New User ? Sign Up  |  Sign In  |  Help
StrangeQuestions
Get the Answers at StrangeQuestions.com!
ask
answer
explore
Search for questions :
My Profile

NotEinstein

Open Questions Bookmark and Share

Where did the equal sign (=) come from?


4100 day(s) ago

    Comment(s) (0)
    Report Abuse
   Find Interesting  
   Email to Friends  
   Bookmark  
   Subscribe to Answer Alert  
No comments yet !!!     Be the first to comment !!!
Answers (1)

Mr. Boxy
The equal sign we have today was first used in the 1500s, although we aren't entirely sure where it came from. Mathematician Robert Recorde used what he called "Gemini lines" in his book "The Whetstone of Witte" published in 1557. In the foreward he explains that this kept him from writing "is equal to" repeatedly. There's also a manuscript written around this time at the University of Bologne, but a definite date hasn't been put to the paper. It may have been before or after Recorde's book.

At the time the "=" wasn't the only symbol used to represent equality. Two vertical parallel lines, ||, were sometimes used as were the and symbols which were short for "aequalis," the Latin word for "equals." "=" didn't become the standard until the 1700s. Even then the symbol had changed: Recorde's was several times longer than what we use now.

The equal sign is also used as a tone letter in some languages. In these languages the pitch at which you say something changes its meaning, a bit like how English speakers will go up in pitch when saying something to show that it's a question. Congolese Budu uses the "=" exclusively, but Kenyan Sabaot and many Papau New Guinea languages use "=" and "?" interchangeability. Note that this colon is slightly different than the ":" on your keyboard.

Posted 4100 day ago

( 0 )
( 0 )
    Comment(s) (0)
   Report Abuse
No comments yet !!! Be the first to comment on this answer !!!

Edit your answer. Click save when done.
Question Title Where did the equal sign (=) come from?
Your Answer
Character Count ( Max. - 5000 ) : 0
Email this question link to friends
Please enter e-mail address and name for each friend..
Friend #1 -
Friend #2 -
Friend #3 -
Friend #4 -
Friend #5 -
  Your comment on this question
Max Allowed : 5000 Characters Current Count : 0
  Your comment on this answer
Max Allowed : 5000 Characters Current Count : 0