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Fraction Bar Name


Date: 12/14/96 at 11:15:40
From: J. McLaggan
Subject: Name of the little line in a division question

Hi,

What is the name of the little line that separates the divisor from 
the dividend in a standard division question:

   a
   -   <- that one there
   b

Thanks,

John


Date: 12/17/96 at 12:55:37
From: Doctor Bombelli
Subject: Re: name of the little line in a division question

John,

There was actually quite a lengthy discussion of this in a History of 
Math mailing list.  Different people and nationalities used different 
terms (variety is the spice of life).  

A VINCULUM (binding) is one name.  It was originally for things like

                      a
                     ---
                     b-c

but became good for single term numerator and denominators as well. 
 
The term when you write a fraction this way---->   a/b   
is a SOLIDUS.

Interesting books on this subject are "The Words of Mathematics, 
An Etymological Dictionary of Mathematical Terms Used in English", 
Steven Schwartzman, MAA 1994 or "A History of Mathematical Notation", 
Florian Cajori, Dover.

-Doctor Bombelli,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/   



Date: 12/17/96 at 22:11:37
From: J. McLaggan
Subject: Re: name of the little line in a division question

Thanks a ton!

John
    
Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Fractions
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Fractions

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