AskDefine | Define minus

Dictionary Definition

minus adj
1 on the negative side or lower end of a scale; "minus 5 degrees"; "a grade of B minus" [ant: plus]
2 involving disadvantage or harm; "minus (or negative) factors" [syn: negative] n : an arithmetic operation in which the difference between two numbers is calculated; "the subtraction of three from four leaves one"; "four minus three equals one" [syn: subtraction]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. less; reduced by subtraction
    seven minus two is five
  2. without.
    I walked out minus my coat.



mathematics: less
  • Dutch: min
  • Finnish: miinus
  • French: moins
  • German: minus
  • Greek: μείον (míon), πλην (plin)
  • Icelandic: mínus
  • Italian: meno
  • Norwegian: minus
  • Portuguese: menos
  • Russian: минус
  • Spanish: menos
  • Swedish: minus
  • Urdu:
informal: without
See without


  1. Negative.
    a minus number
  2. On the negative part of a scale.
    minus seven degrees
  3. Ranking just below a designated rating.
    He got a grade of B minus for his essay.



on the negative part of a scale
ranking just below a designated rating


  1. A minus sign ().
  2. A negative quantity.
  3. A defect or deficiency.




mathematics: minus sign
See minus sign
mathematics: negative quantity
defect or deficiency
  • Finnish: miinus (colloquial)
  • German: Minus
  • Icelandic: mínus , ókostur
  • Russian: минус, недостаток
  • Swedish: brist, minus

Crimean Tatar


minus - less.





Useinov-Mireev 2002}}




Extensive Definition

The plus and minus signs (+ and −) are mathematical symbols used to represent the notions of positive and negative as well as the operations of addition and subtraction. Their use has been extended to many other meanings, more or less analogous. Plus and minus are Latin terms meaning "more" and "less", respectively. <div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 10px 10px; padding:40px; font-size:500%; font-family: Georgia; background-color: #ddddff; border: 1px solid #aaaaff;">+ −


Though the signs now seem as familiar as the alphabet or the Hindu-Arabic numerals, they are not of great antiquity. The Egyptian hieroglyphic sign for addition, for example, resembled a pair of legs walking in the direction in which the text was written (Egyptian was written in boustrophedon, or alternating directions), with the reverse sign indicating subtraction: In Europe in the early 15th century the letters P and M were generally used.
The earliest print appearance of the modern signs seems to come from a book on Behende und hüpsche Rechenung auff allen Kauffmanschafft or Mercantile Arithmetic by Johannes Widmann in 1489, used to indicate surpluses and deficits. The + is a simplification of the Latin "et" (comparable to the ampersand &). The − may be derived from a tilde written over m when used to indicate subtraction; or it may come from a shorthand version of the letter m itself. Widmann referred to the symbols − and + as minus and mer: "was − ist, das ist minus, und das + ist das mer".
According to the Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols website, a book published by Henricus Grammateus in 1518 is the earliest found to use + and − for addition and subtraction.
Robert Recorde, the designer of the equals sign, introduced plus and minus to the UK in 1557 in The Whetstone of Witte:

Plus sign

The plus sign is a binary operator that indicates addition, as in 2 + 3 = 5. It can also serve as a unary operator that leaves its operand unchanged (+5 means the same as 5). This notation may be used when it is desired to emphasise the positiveness of a number, especially when contrasting with the negative (+5 versus −5).
The plus sign can also indicate many other operations, depending on the mathematical system under consideration. Many algebraic structures have some operation which is called, or equivalent to, addition. Moreover, the symbolism has been extended to very different operations. Plus can mean:
In grading systems (such as examination marks), the plus sign indicates a grade one level higher; for example, B+ ("B plus") is one grade higher than B. Sometimes this is extended to two plus signs; for example B++ is one grade higher than B+.
In C and some other computer programming languages, two plus signs indicate the increment operator; for example, x++ means "increment the value of x by one". By extension, "++" is sometimes used in computing terminology to signify an improvement, as in the name of the language C++.
Plus and minus signs are often used in tree view on a computer screen to show if a folder is collapsed or not.

Alternative plus sign

<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 10px 10px; padding:40px; font-size:100%; font-family: Georgia; background-color: #ddddff; border: 1px solid #aaaaff;">A Jewish tradition that dated from at least from the 19th century was to write plus using a symbol like an inverted T. This practice was then adopted into Israeli schools (this practice goes back to at least the 1940s) and is still commonplace today in some elementary schools (including secular schools) while fewer secondary schools.. It is also used occasionally in books by religious authors, but most books for adults use the international symbol "+". The usual explanation for the origins of this practice is that it avoided the writing of a symbol "+" that looked like a Christian cross

Minus sign

The minus sign has two uses in mathematics:
  1. The subtraction operator: A binary operator to indicate the operation of subtraction, as in 5 − 3 = 2. Subtraction is the inverse of addition.
  2. A unary operator that acts as an instruction to replace the operand by its negative (or "opposite"). When applied to a positive number, unary minus creates a negative number. For example, −5 is the negative of 5, and −10.4 is the negative of 10.4. When applied to a negative number unary minus creates a positive number (the opposite of a negative is a positive). For example, if x is 3, then −x is −3, but if x is −3, then −x is 3. Similarly, −(−2) is equal to 2. When applied to zero the result is zero (−0 = 0).
Technically, only the first use should be read minus, where as the number −5 should be read "negative 5" and the symbol −x should be read "the opposite of x". However, informally, "minus 5" and "minus x" are often heard.
In some contexts, different glyphs are used for these meanings; e.g., the unary operator may be raised (as in 2 − 5 = −3), but this usage is rare.
In grading systems (such as examination marks), the minus sign indicates a grade one level lower; for example, B− ("B minus") is one grade lower than B. Sometimes this is extended to two minus signs; for example B−− is one grade lower than B−.
In most programming languages, subtraction and negation are indicated with the ASCII hyphen-minus character -. In C and some other computer programming languages, two hyphen-minus signs indicate the decrement operator; for example, x-- means "decrement the value of x by one".

Character codes

The Unicode minus sign is designed to be the same length and height as the plus and equals signs. In most fonts these are the same width as digits in order to facilitate the alignment of numbers in tables.
The hyphen-minus sign (-) is the ASCII version of the minus sign, and doubles as a hyphen. It is usually shorter in length than the plus sign and sometimes at a different height. It can be used as a substitute for the true minus sign when the character set is limited to ASCII.

See also

minus in Arabic: عيب (هندسة)
minus in Czech: Znaménka plus a minus
minus in German: Minus
minus in Spanish: Signos más y menos
minus in French: Signes plus et moins
minus in Korean: 부호 (수학)
minus in Italian: Più
minus in Italian: Meno (matematica)
minus in Dutch: Minteken
minus in Japanese: プラス記号とマイナス記号
minus in Polish: Plus i minus
minus in Russian: Минус
minus in Slovak: Mínus
minus in Finnish: Etumerkki
minus in Swedish: Plustecken
minus in Turkish: Eksi
minus in Yiddish: פלאס און מיינוס צייכענעס

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

barring, bereaved, bereaved of, bereft, cut off, decrement, deduction, deficient, denuded, deprived of, devoid, discounting, divested, except, excepting, exception taken of, excluding, exclusive of, existless, from, inadequate, inferior, insufficient, lacking, leaving out, less, minuend, missing, negative, nonexistent, not counting, null, off, out of, parted from, plus, positive, robbed of, sans, save, shorn of, short, short of, stripped of, subtrahend, unexisting, unreached, vacuous, void, wanting, without, without being
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