Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The 8 Greatest Mathematical Signs, Ranked

Or at least the ones we remember from precalculus

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

8. Infinity (∞)

Carmelo Anthony has recently found personal significance in this symbolic representation of eternity. However, it’s a farce. Nothing lasts forever, folks. (It’s just a sideways 8, anyway.)

7–6. Greater than (<) and less than (>) (tie)

There’s a rule to help distinguish these two oft-confused symbols — something about the crocodile eating the bigger number — but judging from the internet no one can remember what that rule is. Props to 21 Savage, an intellectual, for having the gall to actually use one of these in an album title, and getting it right… we think.

5. Percent (%)

Reciprocal, improper, mixed, doesn’t matter: We hate fractions. And while the percent sign looks like a fraction that got hammered at the bar, it’s hella practical in everyday use.

4. Division (÷)

Symmetry is the primary aspect of beauty, so the division sign gotta be the finest of them all. Just cute as hell.

3. Approximately (≈)

Not only are these twin squiggles fun to write, but they also speak to the overall uncertainty of the universe. Is there another sign in all of arithmetic that better depicts the fullness of the human experience? The hell if we know; good thing we’ve got ≈.

2. X (x)

It’s the versatility for us! This is a letter representing the unknown, a multiplication sign, and half of any Cartesian graph you’ve ever seen. Algebra wouldn’t even exist without it, ju heard? As long as it’s not drunk-dialing on a Friday night, it’s good with us.

1. Pi (π)

There’d be very little use for geometry without this Greek letter that kinda looks like a hut. How else would you find the circumference of a circle? What other infinitely non-repeating irrational number would that weird kid in your seventh grade class have memorized to 100 digits? Grab yourself a protractor and have a slice of pi.

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