Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have seen a lot of debates over operator precedence but what is the history of operator precedence and how it evolved over time? Why multiplication precedes addition; Is it just to be definitive?

These are the two close links that I could find based on this topic

But there are no definite answers in both of them.

share|cite|improve this question
If you want a more definite answer than what can be found in the two (excellent) references you provide, then I think you need to be more specific in your question. Basically, it evolved naturally together with symbolic notation in the 16th century, but the Devil is in the details, as your references clearly show... – Per Manne Aug 3 '12 at 8:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.