Commercial minus sign

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Commercial minus sign
Different from
Different fromU+0025 % PERCENT SIGN

The commercial minus sign is a typographical and mathematical symbol used in commercial and financial documents in some European languages, in specific contexts.[1]

In some commercial and financial documents, especially in Germany and Scandinavia, the symbol ÷ was used to indicate subtraction or to denote a negative quantity.[2][a] The Unicode Consortium has allocated the code point U+2052 to identify this usage uniquely,[3][5] the exact form of the symbol displayed is typeface (font) dependent. The symbol is also used in the margins of letters to indicate an enclosure, where the upper point is sometimes replaced with the corresponding number.[1]

The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet uses commercial minus signs to denote borrowed forms of a sound.[1]

In Finland, it is used as a symbol for a correct response (the check mark indicates an incorrect response).[1][5]

Typographic variant[edit]

In Germany, the form ./. was historically an alternative to the formal glyph, since this could be conveniently typed on a typewriter. It also provides a convenient alternative means for typing on a modern keyboard, without needing to resort to Unicode input.

In Japan, the triangle (either △ or ▲) is used as the commercial minus sign.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The symbol : was used to denote division, as in 6:3=2.[3] Use of the symbol ÷ for division is specific to Anglophone countries. The ISO 80000-2 standard for mathematical notation recommends only the solidus / or "fraction bar" for division, or the "colon" : for ratios; it says that the ÷ sign "should not be used" for division.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Writing Systems and Punctuation". The Unicode® Standard, Version 10.0 (PDF). Mountain View, CA: The Unicode Consortium. 2017. ISBN 978-1-936213-16-0.
  2. ^ Johann Philipp Schellenberg (1825). Kaufmännische Arithmetik (in German). p. 213.
  3. ^ a b Leif Halvard Silli. "Too narrowly defined: DIVISION SIGN & COLON".
  4. ^ ISO 80000-2, Section 9 "Operations", 2-9.6
  5. ^ a b Leif Halvard Silli. "Commercial minus as italic variant of division sign in German and Scandinavian context".
  6. ^ 句読点、記号・符号活用辞典。 (in Japanese). 小学館辞典編集部. 2007. pp. 183, 185. ISBN 978-4095041766.