minus sign


Definition of minus sign

: a sign − used in mathematics to indicate subtraction (as in 8−6=2) or a negative quantity (as in −10°)

called also negative sign

Examples of minus sign in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The birth of the plus sign goes back to the late 15th century, when mathematicians took the minus sign and added a cross to represent addition, according to Joseph Mazur, professor emeritus of mathematics at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vt. Star Tribune, 22 Dec. 2020 The symbol arrived more than a thousand years after the minus sign, according to Joseph Mazur, professor emeritus of mathematics at Marlboro College in Marlboro, VT. Stephen Battaglio Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2020 In the public open source records, a bee could be logged in the wrong location because someone misplaced a minus sign when documenting the species, for example, says Hughes. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Nov. 2020 Each pair of digits can be connected by either nothing, a plus sign, or a minus sign. Laura Feiveson, Popular Mechanics, 27 Mar. 2020 But the first time an aircraft carrier took the F/A-18s below the Equator, it was discovered that there was a plus sign in the computer code that should have been a minus sign. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2020 Yes, there are scary red minus signs next to your online account balances. Ann Carrns, New York Times, 12 Mar. 2020 Instead of a number pad, time can be increased or decreased with a plus and minus sign on either side of the time display. Gabrielle Hondorp, Popular Mechanics, 4 Feb. 2020 For the negative electrode in his battery — the side with the minus sign — Whittingham decided to test lithium, which is the lightest metal and releases electrons easily. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'minus sign.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of minus sign

1820, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for minus sign

Time Traveler

The first known use of minus sign was in 1820

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Dictionary Entries Near minus sign

minus sight

minus sign


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Cite this Entry

“Minus sign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minus%20sign. Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for minus sign

minus sign


English Language Learners Definition of minus sign

mathematics : the symbol − used to show that a number is being subtracted from another number or that a quantity is less than zero

minus sign


Kids Definition of minus sign

: a sign − used especially in mathematics to indicate subtraction (as in 8−6=2) or a quantity less than zero (as in −15°)

More from Merriam-Webster on minus sign

Nglish: Translation of minus sign for Spanish Speakers


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