There seems to be a standard set of mathematical symbols used on the site. Where is the best resource to learning what each is equal to? I'm thinking sort of like in programming where when I learn a new language I will often refer to a webpage with the basic syntax, defined keywords, and expressions.

Anyone can help with this one? will really help my useage of the site. thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ If I understood you correctly: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/934/… $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Oct 26, 2010 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ Syntax for mathematical typesetting (material enclosed between dollar signs in postings) is TeX and more specifically LaTeX. The easiest for quick learning is (La)TeX "cookbooks" that display a type of formula and the syntax for producing it. For more sophisticated programming there are manuals such as the ones by the original developers, Knuth (TeX, Metafont) and Lamport (Latex). $\endgroup$
    – T..
    Oct 26, 2010 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about the symbols themselves, or the TeX code we use to enter them? $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2010 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Paul, yes your right I should have been more specifc, I was talking about the symbols themselves but reading Moron's link realised I also need to learn teh TeX codes. $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2010 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ @T.. thanks for that insight have included the two docos that I'm currently reading in my answer below. $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2010 at 3:57

2 Answers 2


The symbols that we use to write math are just part of its language. The best way to get used to them is really just to do math. I don't know of a single reference to the meaning of mathematical symbols, because in a lot of cases, understanding the meaning of the symbol is the same as understanding the math behind it. So the only real place to go is textbooks or papers for your area of interest. Charles Wells does have a pretty good book about mathematical communication, though.

Obviously, if there's a specific area of math you want to learn more about, I'm sure somebody on here can help you.

  • $\begingroup$ The "pretty good book" link has suffered from link rot. The site says there is nothing to see there. If you can, please edit this to include the title so we can search for it. $\endgroup$
    – SDsolar
    Jun 24, 2017 at 8:02

Yep thanks @Moron, that link was exactly what I was hunting for.

Reiterating the links on that page for others...

Editiors for building and playing with equations:
Free hand

Documentation explaining TeX /LaTeX
The not so short introduction to LaTeX 2e
Users guide for Amsmath 2

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    $\begingroup$ WHoa, the "Free hand" link is pretty nice, Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – jericson
    Oct 27, 2010 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ Keyboard link is not 404. The link to keyboard still works. I just checked it. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2017 at 23:38

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