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WikiProject Typography (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
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use as "range" symobol - Russian and Italian.[edit]

Just a comment. Obelus is still often used in Russian Language typography to denote a range (anon., no date)

As documented in Italian wikipedia, obelus is commonly used in Italian to denote a numeric range/interval, e.g. in datasheets and engineering books.

Unfortunately, no Italian wikipedians to date can find a reference that mandates this use, though examples are easy to find. It would be interesting to know where/which culture this usage originated from. As noted by one editor, wikipedia (in another language) is not an authoritative reference for itself, even though translation is encouraged. --Ziounclesi (talk) 19:44, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


Obelus is commonly seen today representing minus in Norway, for example in advertisements proclaiming "Opptil 30% på salgsvare" (Up to 30% reduction on goods in sale). Modern Norwegian is closely related to Danish and most norwegians regard this usage as old-fashioned but comprehensible.Cuddlyable3 09:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

change "division sign" and "obelus" articles?[edit]

From the point made above, and from the fact that there is no article called "division sign", but one for "multiplication sign", how about changing the way this is organised? Really there should be one short article for the symbol (obelus), nothing much more than a redirect telling you what it represents in Russia, Norway and English-speaking countries, and another article "division sign" which would include all ways of indicating division, ÷ / _ and:. Saint|swithin 11:02, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


The obelus is often coloquially referred to as a "gazenta"; the equation 12 ÷ 3 = 4 would be read "3 gazenta 12 four times."

If it were indeed the obelus being referred to as a "gazenta", it would be read "12 gazenta 3 four times". Gazenta is just poor pronunciation of "goes into". I therefore recommend the above line be removed.

I agree it should be removed, and have removed it. -R. S. Shaw (talk) 21:25, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Plus Sign[edit]

What about the plus sign (+)? Does it have a name other than plus sign? Ileanadu (talk) 00:31, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Obelus is also the 'dagger' sign[edit]

Obelus is also the name for the "dagger" symbol (&dag;) -- should be mentioned in the article? Or perhaps merge with Dagger (typography)?

Oxford Dictionary mentions Obelisk as 'another term for obelus'.

quota (talk) 09:36, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Daggers are more commonly known as obelisk though. That said, I have restored the previous {{Main|Dagger (typography)}} in the History section and added Obelism in the See also section. The previous placement and description in the See also section was inadequate, as the dagger was a variant of the obelus only in the sense that it was an alternate way of writing it. The wording implies that the mathematical symbol was the original usage, which is incorrect.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 22:41, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't think {{main}} is appropriate — that's for something that expands on the same topic as a section in more detail, rather than (as in this case) something that is closely related and derived from it. I changed it into a sentence within the article. The alternative would be to have one article for both topics, but I think nowadays the obelus and dagger are really two separate symbols even though they have a shared history. —David Eppstein (talk) 23:53, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
The history in this article is a summary. Having a shared history is exactly why I used {{Main}} . Dagger (typography) contains the bulk of the symbol's history. The current form in which dagger is only mentioned offhand makes it seem like the content here is the complete history of it, when that is not the case. As a reader, I would read the section and it wouldn't even cross my mind that there's more. As evidenced by how User:Quota is even bringing this to attention in the first place.
It should be clear that the topic (the symbol's history) is expanded more in another article. Linking those in the body as WP:Easter egg links is simply not enough.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 00:50, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
The main template is for when the other article is a *subtopic* of this one that treats one aspect of the topic in more detail. The dagger is not a subtopic of the division sign. If we had an article history of the obelus the main template would be warranted. As it is, it is the wrong way to link to the other article. Link to the other article because it covers the history better, certainly, yes. Link to it in a way that makes the dagger look like a subtopic of the division sign, no. I have used instead the {{details}} template, which I think more accurately reflects the relation between the two articles. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:12, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I agree. That's a much better template (I didn't even know we had that, LOL).-- OBSIDIANSOUL 01:22, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Split article?[edit]

The lead reads:

An obelus (symbol: ÷ or †, plural: obeluses or obeli) is a symbol consisting of a short horizontal line with a dot above and another dot below, and in other uses it is a symbol resembling a small dagger. In mathematics it is mainly used to represent the mathematical operation of division. It is therefore commonly called the division sign. In editing texts an obelus takes the form of a dagger mark (†) and is used as a reference mark, or to indicate that a person is dead, and often used to indicate a footnote.

I find that confusing, and wrong. It's not like there is "an obelus", almost like a Platonic idea, that can take two graphical forms and has two uses. There is a word that has two meanings, viz. two different symbols with each its own uses. Perhaps this article can be rewritten to better reflect that, but I think there is so little common ground between the two meanings of the word, it would make more sense to have two or three articles; either

  1. "Obelus" or "Obelus (disambiguation page)", linking the following two
  2. "Obelus (dagger)" or "Obelus (typography)"
  3. "Obelus (dash and dots)" or "Obelus (mathematics)"


  1. "Obelus" (a page on one of the two symbols, with a hat note to the other one)
  2. An article on the other symbol, named like 2. or 3. above

What do you think?-- (talk) 11:49, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Actually, the article "Obelus (typography)" already exists, under the rather obvious name "Dagger (typography)".
Thus, a suggestion would be to remove everythin about the dagger from the present article, but add a hat-note like
This article is about the symbol composed of a horizontal line and two dots. For the symbol resembling a dagger, see Dagger (typography).
I think this would be the best solution!-- (talk) 13:35, 9 March 2019 (UTC)