Talk:Equals sign

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Definition of equality[edit]

what does "equal" mean without begging the question? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

The following argument is due to Bertrand Russell (who used it against defining the word good) and I'm no doubt presenting it badly, but here goes: You are obviously familiar with the word equal already or you would not have worded the question that way. Therefore, if I answered you with a dictionary definition like "as great as, the same as, alike in quantity or value", you would gain no new information and call it "begging the question". What you're really looking for is some non-trivial statement about equality, like "two things are equal if they can be exchanged without consequence in all circumstances", but that's not really a definition, it's a statement about the concept equality that doesn't have much to do with the meaning of the word equality itself. Dig? —Keenan Pepper 19:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

‘The equals sign is placed between the things stated to be exactly the same...’ I don’t agree with the definition presented here. 2+2 is not exactly the same as 4 since the former has two 2s and a plus sign while the latter has a single 4. This point is less trivially illustrated by the equation a=3 since the left hand side of the equation is a letter and the right hand side is a number – these are clearly not exactly the same. Indeed if they were exactly the same you would hardly need to say so (3=3). You might go on to say that the use of the equals sign is a tacit admission that really the two expressions are not EXACTLY the same. I would prefer to say that an equals sign is used to indicate that two different expressions evaluate to exactly the same result.

It depends on the context. You are right that the string "2+2" is not the same as the string "4". But the number 2+2 is the same as the number 4. Two elements of a set are equal if they are the same element of that set. Sympleko (Συμπλεκω) 22:05, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Bumper Stickers[edit]

I've seen some bumper stickers with the equal sign on them. What do they mean? 17:11, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Good question. —Keenan Pepper 19:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

If they're the same ones I'm thinking of, just an equal sign and nothing more, they're to promote equality and acceptance. 11:05, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Bit late to this convo, but maybe someone else will be interested: The one you're thinking of is here, yes? It implies equality for all, but with a particular interest in LBGT right. --Buddy13 (talk) 05:14, 25 April 2009 (UTC)


oopsies...i didnt know i could do that...srry —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

No problem, just be careful in the future. —Keenan Pepper 19:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)


This is very, very strange... I've only seen the middle dot(・) used to separate a foreign first name from a last name. (i.e. ソル・バッドガイ [to use the example in the article]) I feel it's better to remove this until there's a source cited for that anyway. 11:02, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

This is true, The Japanese use what is more closely related to a multiplication symbol.

I'm guessing they became confused. (talk) 23:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Merge Equals (computing) here[edit]

This article already describes the use of = in programming languages, and another article, Relational operator, describes the meaning in more detail than should be described here. Should any meaningful content from Equals (computing) be merged here? +mt 02:40, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but I don't see why - this article is on the sign not the concept in computing isn't it--Wikierpedia (talk) 02:45, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't think the article should merge with one based on the equals sign within computing. It's a different topic. There is no obvious quotation of use of the = sign within computing in this article. I think the articles should stay separate - but that's just my opinion. Some people might find it easier to have the two articles together, but I certainly wouldn't. If I needed to find out the use of the = sign within computing then I would look that up. If I needed to find out about the = sign generally I'd look that up. I don't really see the problem of having the two articles separate. Aml96 (talk) 14:56, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

As an escape character[edit]

I think this article should link to Quoted-printable. And I think that would warrant a new "In Information Technology" (or some such) section, under which the "In programming languages" subsection should be moved. Objections? (talk) 17:39, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

x or sqrt(x)[edit]

I think the equation reproduced from Recorde's book should translate as 14x+15 = 71, not 14 sqrt(x)+15=71. Indeed, the description of the picture says so. But the text of the article uses sqrt, in English and also in several other languages. I don't dare to change it without being reassured by some of you. Please. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:34, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Compare and Contrast with the German Wikipedia page[edit]

Whilst trying to get information about various alternatives to the Equals sign that are used in logic/philosophy etc. I came upon a page in the German Wikipedia: Das Gleichheitszeichen [1] It had a lovely table with any and all of the signs I might wish to use... Except that I don't speak/read German well and so I went looking for that same page in English... To my chagrin, I find a wholly inadequate (for my needs at least) discussion that lacks almost all of the information that the German page seems to have... Worst of all, that lovely table isn't apparent. Could I humbly request that those of you working in this area might wish to see what your German counterparts are doing and perhaps use what's best of their work to fortify your own? I'd appreciate it... Thanks... Emyth (talk) 18:40, 19 April 2011 (UTC)


Languages making the former choice often use a colon-equals (:=) or to denote their assignment operator. Which programming languages use the Unicode character? I'm not aware of any. Colon (punctuation)#Computing even claims that := in programming languages is in Unicode preferably encoded as U+2254. I can see the usefulness of U+2254 in text for human consumption, but what sense would it make to use it in source code? It's not exactly easy to type, and machines care little about the typographic beauty of the code they consume.-- (talk) 01:24, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

approximately equal?[edit]

Can anyone point out the difference between "equal" and "approximately equal" (why would one be preferred over the other)? because in school we are taught 2+2=4 when we should have been taught 2+2≈4... (Is that why 2+2=5 came about?). Charlieb000 (talk) 06:02, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

You should listen at school. You missed something, even here.--Mideal (talk) 10:05, 25 March 2014 (UTC)


At "Other related symbols" ≙ is explained with
≙ (U+2259 ≙ estimates)

Why "estimates", when even the link says "correspondance"? That's quite a difference!--Mideal (talk) 10:05, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

"Equals sign" or "Equal sign"?[edit]

Many sources do not put an "s" at the end of "equal". — Preceding unsigned comment added by John E. Cooper (talkcontribs) 08:42, 16 October 2014 (UTC)