What do slanted inequality signs mean? Specifically, these are $\geqslant$, $\leqslant$; and the variation: $\eqslantgtr$, $\eqslantless$.

Is there any place I can look this up? I've searched Wikipedia and the web and can't find anything about them. The last two were found when looking up the first two.

up vote 20 down vote accepted

$\geqslant$ is an alternative to $\geq$ and means the same: $a \geqslant b$ = "$a$ is greater than or equal to $b$".

Likewise, $\leqslant$ is an alternative notation for $\leq$, with $a \leqslant b$ = "$a$ is less than or equal to $b$".

I haven't encountered $\eqslantgtr$ or $\eqslantless$, but given that the former is formatted eqslantgtr and the latter eqslantless, I would venture to guess that they likewise denote "greater than or equal to" and "less than or equal to", respectively. Perhaps with these symbols, where the emphasis appears to be on the "equals" component, they are read as "equal to or greater than" and "equal to or less than", respectively.

  • Thanks. The context in which I saw $\geqslant$ and $\leqslant$ did make it look like they meant what their unslanted counterparts do, but I couldn't tell for sure. – anon Nov 30 '12 at 1:36

In Russia $\geqslant$ and $\leqslant$ are used instead of $\geq$ and $\leq$.
We don't use $\geq$ and $\leq$ at all.
But I've never seen $\eqslantgtr$ and $\eqslantless$ in Russian math texts.

1. There are more interesting distinctions between Russian and English math notations.
For example, we occasionally using $\ n\vdots d\ $ instead of $\ d|n$.
2. There are a lot of strange math symbols exists: see here and here.

  • in Vietnam we use ⩾ and ⋮ too, so it confuses me occasionally when seeing d | n. I think it's due to the influence of France. ≥ is only seen when typing – phuclv Jul 30 at 2:50

I haven't seen $\eqslantless$ or $\eqslantgtr$ used. A Google search for "eqslantless" turned up http://www.mathnet.ru/php/archive.phtml?wshow=paper&jrnid=tmf&paperid=3775&option_lang=eng but the actual paper (both the Russian original and the English translation) used $\leqslant$.

  • I have: here. In particular the definitions of minimizing and maximizing orders. Of course I was forced by sheer shortage of still available symbols... ;-) – WimC Aug 28 '14 at 17:19

In France too, we use $\geqslant$ and $\leqslant$, at least in high school teaching.

The $\geq$ and $\leq$ signs are understandable though, and used by pocket calculators.

  • In Vietnam ⩾ and ⩽ are also used. In fact most of the Vietnamese mathematics and physics are heavily influenced by France (like U for voltage, tg for tangent, sin for waveforms) and Russia (as old Communist allies). In the first half of the 20th century, most students have to learn French, and in the next quarter century they have to learn Russian. However recently the new textbooks changed to the more US-centric style (tg → tan, sin → cos for wave function) – phuclv Jul 30 at 3:01

Since people agreed with $\leq$ vs $\leqslant$ is a style issue. I checked a list of books from various disciplines,

the "$\leq$" group:

R. Shankar, Principle of Quantum Mechanics.

O.C. Zienkiewicz, et al. The Finite Element Method.

J. Munkres, Topology.

S. Boyd, et al. Convex Optimization.

S.M. Carroll, Spacetime and Geometry

R.W. Hamming, Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers

T. Sauer, Numerical Analysis.

R.A. Horn, et al. Matrix Analysis

G.H. Golub, et al. Matrix Computations

W. Fulton, et al. Representation Theory

T.W. Hungerford, Algebra

N. Jacobson, Basic Algebra

I. Goodfellow, Deep Learning

the "$\leqslant$" group:

D.V. Hutton, Fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis.

S.J. Farlow, Partial Differential Equations for Scientistes and Engineers

R.L. Graham, Concrete Mathematics

C.M. Bishop, Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning

It seems that most gurus preferred "$\leq$".

  • it depends on the gurus' language. It seems the slanted version is preferred in European countries and their colonies – phuclv Jul 30 at 2:53
  • I encountered the slanted version in The C Programming Language second edition by B. Kernighan and D. Ritchie, which led me to research and end up here. – JYelton Aug 10 at 20:46

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.