# minus sign

## noun

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

called also negative sign

Recent Examples on the Web For example, Sutherland noted that y2 = x3 – 11x + 6 has conductor 17, but flipping the minus sign to a plus sign, y2 = x3 + 11x + 6 has conductor 100,736. Lyndie Chiou, Quanta Magazine, 5 Mar. 2024 In math, whenever a student drew a line in an equals sign, a minus sign, or a division sign, she was required to use a ruler. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 26 June 2023 So that’s the exclusion principle: given that minus sign under exchange, two particles can never be in precisely the same quantum state. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2012 Both are solutions to Einstein’s relativity theory, differing only by a minus sign. Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine, 30 Nov. 2022 The favorite will be indicated by a minus sign next to their spread, and the underdog will have a plus sign. Doug Ziefel, Chicago Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 Each pair of digits can be connected by either nothing, a plus sign, or a minus sign. Laura Feiveson, Popular Mechanics, 23 Sep. 2021 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 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'minus sign.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

## Word History

First Known Use

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of minus sign was in 1820

minus sign

## Cite this Entry

“Minus sign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/minus%20sign. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

## Kids Definition

minus sign

noun
: a sign − used to show subtraction (as in 8 − 6 = 2) or a quantity less than zero (as in −10°)

## More from Merriam-Webster on minus sign

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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