Percent means 1 part of 100 or 1/100 and is indicated with %. Per mille means 1 part of 1000 or 1/1000 and is indicated with ‰, so it seems that these symbols indicate the mathematical operations that they perform (i.e., the divisor in per mille is 10X greater. However I can't seem to reconcile how % suggests 1/100 and ‰ suggests 1/1000.

Is this just convention or is there a deeper meaning?

Thank you.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you seen this? $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 5 '11 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ % has two 0s and a slanted 1 in it, and likewise for ‰... :) $\endgroup$ – Rahul Sep 5 '11 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Rahul: you made up the "slanted 1", right? That's why you put the :) joke sign at the end? $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Sep 5 '11 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @GEdgar, as far as I know, I made up everything in that comment. $\endgroup$ – Rahul Sep 5 '11 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul: It's a good mnemonic nonetheless... $\endgroup$ – Assad Ebrahim Jun 30 '14 at 3:31

It's a convention that started sort of as a fluke. In a 14th century Italian manuscript, a sideways letter P is written to stand for 'per 100' or 'per cento'. It then slowly evolved. A more in depth bit can be found under the percent sign history here, and on the wiki page.

In addition to percent 0/0, and permil 0/00, there is also permyriad 0/000 for 1/10000.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't find it; is there a permyriad symbol in Unicode or $\TeX$? :) $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 6 '11 at 1:37
  • $\begingroup$ Unicode U+2031 ‱, as referenced here $\endgroup$ – process91 Oct 10 '11 at 6:25

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