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Mathematical and scientific symbols


Common pronunciations (in British English - Gimson,1981) of mathematical and
scientific symbols are given in the list below.
(all the pages in this section need a unicode font installed - e.g. Arial Unicode MS,
Doulos SIL Unicode, Lucida Sans Unicode - see: The International Phonetic Alphabet in
Unicode).

Symbols
+

plus

/'pls/

minus

/'mans/

plus or minus

/'pls : 'mans/

multiplied by

/'mltplad ba/

over; divided by

/'v/ /d'vadd/

divided

/d'vadd/

equals

/':kwlz/

approximately, similar

/'prksmtl/ /'sml t/

equivalent to; identical

/k'wvlnt t/ /a'dentkl t/

not equal to

/'nt 'ikwl t/

>

greater than

/'gret n/

<

less than

/'les n/

greater than or equal to

/'gret n r 'ikwl t/

less than or equal to

/'les n r' ikwl t/

not greater than

/'nt 'gret n/

not less than

/'nt 'les n/

much greater than

/'m 'gret n/

much less than

/'m 'les n/

perpendicular to

/ppn'dkjl t/

parallel to

/'prlel t/

not equivalent to, not identical to

/'nt k'wvlnt t/ /'nt


a'dentkl t/

not similar to

/'nt 'sml t/

squared

/'skwed/

cubed

/'kju:bd/

to the fourth; to the power four

/t 'f/ /te 'p f/

to the n; to the nth; to the power n

/t en; t d en; t
pr en/

root; square root

/ru:t/ /skwe ru:t/

cube root

/kju:b ru:t/

fourth root

/f rut/

factorial

/fk'trl/

percent

/p'sent/

infinity

/n'fnt/

varies as; proportional to

/'vrz/ /pr'pnl/

dot

/dt/

double dot

/dbl dt/

is to, ratio of

/re/

f(x) fx

f; function

/ef/ /'fkn/

f'(x)

f dash; derivative

/d/ /d'rvtv/

f''x

f double-dash; second derivative

/'dbl d/ /'seknd d'rvtv/

f'''(x)

f triple-dash; f treble-dash; third


derivative

/'trpl d/ / trebl d/ /:d


d'rvtv/

f(4)

f four; fourth derivative

/f d'rvtv/

partial derivative, delta

/pal d'rvtv/ /delt/

integral

/'ntgrl/

sum

/sm/

w.r.t.

with respect to

/w 'rspekt/

log

log

/lg/

logx

log to the base 2 of x

/lg t bes tu: v eks/

therefore

/'f/

because

/b'kz/

gives, leads to, approaches

/gvz/ /li:dz t/ /prz/

per

/p:/

belongs to; a member of; an element


of

/b'lz/ /'memb/ /'elmnt/

does not belong to; is not a member of; /nt b'l/ /nt 'memb/
is not an element of
/nt n 'elmnt/

contained in; a proper subset of

/kn'tend n/ /'prp 'sbset/

contained in; subset

/'sbset/

intersection

/'ntsekn/

union

/'junn/

for all

/f r:l/

cos x

cos x; cosine x

/kz/

sin x

sine x

/san/

tan x

tangent x

/tan/

cosec x

cosec x

/'ksek/

sinh x

shine x

/'an/

cosh x

cosh x

/'k/

tanh x

than x

/n/

|x|

mod x; modulus x

/md/ /'mdjls/

degrees Centigrade

/d'gri:z 'sentgred/

degrees Fahrenheit

/d'gri:z 'frnhat/

degrees Kelvin

/d'gri:z 'kelvn/

0K,
273.15 C

absolute zero

/abslu:t zi:r/

mm

millimetre

/'mlmit/

cm

centimetre

/'sentmit/

cc, cm

cubic centimetre, centimetre cubed

/'kjubk
'sentmit/ /'sentmit 'kju:b
d/

metre

/'mit/

km

kilometre

/k'lmt/

mg

milligram

/'mlgrm/

gram

/grm/

kg

kilogram

/'klgrm/

AC

A.C.

/e si:/

DC

D.C.

/di: si:/

^
Examples
x+1

x plus one

x -1

x minus one

x1

x plus or minus one

xy

x y; x times y; x multiplied by y

(x y)(x
+ y)

x minus y, x plus y

x/y

x over y; x divided by y;

xy

x divided by y

x=5

x equals 5; x is equal to 5

xy

x is approximately equal to y

xy

x is equivalent to y; x is identical with y

xy

x is not equal to y

x>y

x is greater than y

x<y

x is less than y

xy

x is greater than or equal to y

xy

x is less than or equal to y

0 < x < 1 zero is less than x is less than 1; x is greater than zero and less than 1
0x1

zero is less than or equal to x is less than or equal to 1; x is greater than


or equal to zero and less than or equal to 1

x squared

x cubed

x4

x to the fourth; x to the power four

xn

x to the n; x to the nth; x to the power n

x-n

x to the minus n; x to the power of minus n

root x; square root x; the square root of x

the cube root of x

the fourth root of x


the nth root of x

(x + y)

x plus y all squared

(x/y)

x over y all squared

n!

n factorial; factorial n

x%

x percent

infinity

xy

x varies as y; x is (directly) proportional to y

x 1/y

x varies as one over y; x is indirectly proportional to y

x dot

x double dot

f(x) fx

f of x; the function of x

f'(x)

f dash x; the (first) derivative of with respect to x

f''x

f double-dash x; the second derivative of f with respect to x

f'''(x)

f triple-dash x; f treble-dash x; the third derivative of f with respect to x

f(4)

f four x; the fourth derivative of f with respect to x

the partial derivative of v

delta v by delta theta, the partial derivative of v with respect to

delta two v by delta theta squared; the second partial derivative of v


with respect to

dv

the derivative of v

dv
d

d v by d theta, the derivative of v with respect to theta

d v
d

d 2 v by d theta squared, the second derivative of v with respect to


theta,

integral
integral from zero to infinity

sum
the sum from i equals 1 to n

w.r.t.

with respect to

logey

log to the base e of y; log y to the base e; natural log (of) y

therefore

because

gives, approaches

x 0

delta x approaches zero

lim

the limit as delta x approaches zero, the limit as delta x tends to zero

x0

Lt
x0

the limit as delta x approaches zero, the limit as delta x tends to zero

m/sec

metres per second

xA

x belongs to A; x is a member of A; x is an element of A

x A

x does not belong to A; x is not a member of A; x is not an element of A

A B

A is contained in B; A is a proper subset of B

AB

A is contained in B; A is a subset of B

AB

A intersection B

AB

A union B

cos x

cos x; cosine x

sin x

sine x

tan x

tangent x, tan x

cosec x

cosec x

sinh x

shine x

cosh x

cosh x

tanh x

than x

|x|

mod x; modulus x

18

eighteen degrees Centigrade

70

seventy degrees Fahrenheit

^
Greek alphabet

alpha

/'lf/

beta

/'bi:t/

gamma

/'gm/

delta

/'delt/

epsilon

/'epsiln/

zeta

/'zit/

eta

/'it/

theta

/'it/

iota

/a't/

kappa

/'kp/

lamda

/'lmd/

mu

/'mju/

nu

/'nju/

xi

/'ksa/

omicron

/'mkrn/

pi

/'pa/

rho

/'r/

sigma

/'sgm/

tau

/'t/

upsilon

/'jpsln/

phi

/'fa/

chi

/'ka/

psi

/'psa/

omega

/'mg/

^
Roman alphabet
A

/'e/

/'bi/

/'si/

/'di/

/'i/

/'ef/

/'i/

/'e/

/'a/

/'e/

/'ke/

/'el/

/'em/

/'en/

/'/

/'pi/

/'kju/

/'/

/'es/

/'ti:/

/'ju:/

/'vi:/

/'dblju/

/'eks/

/'wa/

/'zed/

^
Fractions

a half

/ 'h:f/

a quarter

/ 'kwt/

three quarters

/ri 'kwtz/

a third

/ ':d/

two thirds

/tu: ':dz/

a fifth

/ 'ff/

two fifths

/tu: 'ffs/

three fifths

/ri 'ffs/

four fifths

/f 'ffs/

a sixth

/ 'sks/

five sixths

/fav 'skss/

an eighth

/n 'et/

three eighths

/ri 'ets/

five eighths

/fav 'ets/

seven eighths

/sevn 'ets/

^
Decimal Fractions
0.1

nought point one

/n:t pnt wn/

0.01

nought point oh one

/n:t pnt wn/

0.0001

nought point oh oh oh one

/ten pnt wn/

1.1

one point one

/wn pnt wn/

1.2

one point two

/wn pnt tu:/

1.23

one point two three

/wn pnt tu: ri:/

1.0123

one point oh one two three

/wn pnt wn tu: ri:/

10.01

ten point oh one

/ten pnt wn/

21.57

twenty-one point five seven

/'twent wn pnt fav 'sevn/

2.6666666666.... two point six recurring

/tu: pnt sks r'k:r/

2.612361236123 two point six one two three


...
recurring

/tu: pnt sks wn tu: ri:


r'k:r/

2.5 million

/tu: pnt fav 'mljn/

two point five million

^
SI Units: Prefixes
10-24

yocto

/'jkt/

10-21

zepto

/'zept/

10-18

atto

/'at/

10-15

femto

/'femt/

10-12

pico

/'pi:k/

10-9

nano

/'nan/

10-6

micro

/'makr/

10-3

milli

/'ml/

10-2

centi

/'sent/

10-1

deci

/'des/

103

kilo

/'kl/

106

mega

/'meg/

109

giga

/'gg/

1012

tera

/'ter/

1015

peta

/'pet/

1018

exa

/'eks/

1021

zetta

/'zet/

1024

yotta

/'jt/

1027

xona

/'zn/

1030

weka

/'wek/

1033

vunda

/'vnd/

^
Cardinal Numbers
1

one

/wn/

two

/tu:/

three

/ri:/

four

/f/

five

/fav/

six

/sks/

seven

/'sevn/

eight

/et/

nine

/nan/

10

ten

/ten/

11

eleven

/'levn/

12

twelve

/twelv/

13

thirteen

/:'ti:n/

14

fourteen

/f'ti:n/

15

fifteen

/ff'ti:n/

16

sixteen

/skst'i:n/

17

seventeen

/seven'ti:n/

18

eighteen

/e'ti:n/

19

nineteen

/nan'ti:n/

20

twenty

/'twent/

21

twenty-one

/twent'wn/

22

twenty-two

/twent'tu:/

23

twenty-three

/twent'ri:/

24

twenty-four

/twent'f/

25

twenty-five

/twent'fav/

26

twenty-six

/twent'sks/

27

twenty-seven

/twent'sevn/

28

twenty-eight

/twent'et/

29

twenty-nine

/twent'nan/

30

thirty

/':t/

40

forty

/'ft/

50

fifty

/'fft/

60

sixty

/'skst/

70

seventy

/'sevnt/

80

eighty

/'et/

90

ninety

/'nant/

100

a hundred; one hundred

/ 'hndrd/ /wn 'hndrd/

101

a hundred and one

/ 'hndrd n wn/

102

a hundred and two

/ 'hndrd n tu:/

110

a hundred and ten

/ 'hndrd n ten/

120

a hundred and twenty

/ 'hndrd n 'twent/

200

two hundred

/tu: 'hndrd/

300

three hundred

/ri: 'hndrd/

400

four hundred

/f 'hndrd/

500

five hundred

/fav 'hndrd/

600

six hundred

/sks 'hndrd/

700

seven hundred

/'sevn 'hndrd/

800

eight hundred

/et 'hndrd/

900

nine hundred

/nan 'hndrd/

1 000

a thousand, one thousand / 'znd/ /wn 'znd/

1 001

a thousand and one

/ 'znd n wn/

1 010

a thousand and ten

/ 'znd n ten/

1 020

a thousand and twenty

/ 'znd n 'twent/

1 100

one thousand, one


hunded

/wn 'znd wn 'hndrd/

1 101

one thousand, one


hundred and one

/wn 'znd wn 'hndrd


n wn/

1 110

one thousand, one

/wn 'znd wn 'hndrd

hundred and ten

n ten/

9 999

nine thousand, nine


hundred and ninety-nine

/nan 'znd nan 'hndrd


n 'nant 'nan/

10 000

ten thousand

/ten 'znd/

15 356

fifteen thousand, three


hundred and fifty six

/'ffti:n 'znd ri: 'hndrd


n 'fft sks/

100 000

a hundred thousand

/ 'hndrd 'znd/

1 000 000

a million

/ 'mljn/

100 000 000

a hundred million

/ 'hndrd 'mljn/

1 000 000 000

a billion

/ 'bljn/

100 000 000 000

a hundred billion

/ 'hndrd 'bljn/

1 000 000 000 000

a trillion

/ 'trljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000

a quadrillion

/ kwdrljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


000

a quintillian

/ kwn'tljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


000 000

a sextillion

/ seks'tljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


000 000 000

a septillion

/ sep'tljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


000 000 000 000

an ocillion

/n kt'tljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


000 000 000 000 000

a nonillion

/ nn'ljn/

1 000 000 000 000 000


a decillion
000 000 000 000 000 000

/ de'sljn/

^
Ordinal Numbers
1st

first

/f:st/

2nd

second

/'seknd/

3rd

third

/:d/

4th

fourth

/f:/

5th

fifth

/ff/

6th

sixth

/sks/

7th

seventh

/'sevn/

8th

eighth

/et/

9th

ninth

/nan/

10th

tenth

/ten/

11th

eleventh

/'levn/

12th

twelfth

/'twelf/

13th

thirteenth

/:'ti:n/

14th

fourtheenth

/f'ti:n/

15th

fidteenth

/ff'ti:n/

16th

sixteenth

/sks'ti:n/

17th

seventeenth

/seven'ti:n/

18th

eighteenth

/e'ti:n/

19th

nineteenth

/nan'ti:n/

20th

twentieth

/'twent/

21st

twenty-first

/twent'f:st/

22nd

twenty-second

/twent'seknd/

23rd

twenty-third

/twent':d/

24th

twenty-fourth

/twent'f:/

25th

twenty-fifth

/twent'ff/

26th

twenty-sixth

/twent'sks/

27th

twenty-seventh

/twent'sevn/

28th

twenty-eighth

/twent'et/

29th

twenty-ninth

/twent'nan/

30th

thirtieth

/'t/

31st

thirty-first

/t'f:st/

40th

fortieth

/'f:t/

50th

fiftieth

/'fft/

100th

hundredth

/'hndrd/

1 000th

thousandth

/'znd/

1 000 000th

miilionth

/'mljn/

^
Chemicals