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The character (HTML element: ∂ or ∂, Unicode: U+2202) or is a stylized d mainly used as a mathematical symbol to denote a partial derivative such as (read as "the partial derivative of z with respect to x").[1]


The symbol was originally introduced by Adrien-Marie Legendre in 1786, but gained popularity when it was used by Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi in 1841.[2][3][4]

is also used to denote the following:

The symbol is referred to as "del"[5] (not to be confused with , also known as "del"), "dee",[6] "partial dee",[7] "partial" (especially in LaTeX), "round d",[8] "curly dee", "doh",[9] "die"[10] or "dabba".[11]

The lowercase Cyrillic De looks similar when italicized.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christopher, Essex (2013). Calculus : a complete course. p. 682. ISBN 9780321781079. OCLC 872345701. 
  2. ^ Adrien-Marie Legendre, "Memoire sur la manière de distinguer les maxima des minima dans le Calcul des Variations," Histoire de l'Academie Royale des Sciences (1786), pp. 7–37.
  3. ^ Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, "De determinantibus Functionalibus," Crelle's Journal 22 (1841), pp. 319–352.
  4. ^ Aldrich, John. "Earliest Uses of Symbols of Calculus". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Bhardwaj, R.S. (2005), Mathematics for Economics & Business (2nd ed.), p. 6.4 
  6. ^ Silverman, Richard A. (1989), Essential Calculus: With Applications, p. 216 
  7. ^ Pemberton, Malcolm; Rau, Nicholas (2011), Mathematics for Economists: An Introductory Textbook, p. 271 
  8. ^ Munem, Mustafa; Foulis, David (1978). Calculus with Analytic Geometry. New York, NY: Worth Publishers, Inc. p. 828. ISBN 0-87901-087-8. 
  9. ^ Bowman, Elizabeth (2014), Video Lecture for University of Alabama in Huntsville 
  10. ^ Christopher, Essex; Adams, Robert Alexander (2014). Calculus : a complete course (Eighth ed.). p. 682. ISBN 9780321781079. OCLC 872345701. 
  11. ^ Gokhale, Mujumdar, Kulkarni, Singh, Atal, Engineering Mathematics I, p. 10.2, Nirali Prakashan ISBN 8190693549.