Mathematical symbols are used internationally but each country read them in its own way. Moreover it is often difficult to find a comprehensive list.

I know that this question is very broad but I think that it could be useful to a lot of people to know how to read the most often found symbols.

By most general symbols I mean: limits, product/union over sets, integrals, (partial) derivatives, etc.

So this question is really about how to read math aloud. If I need to find the name of a particular notion like "signal processing" I can ask Wikipedia.

Edit: Here is a list of what I would like to see covered in an answer.

  • Fraction: a/b is read "a over b" ;
  • Functions: f(x) is read "f of x" ;
  • Inverse image: f^{-1}(A) is read "the inverse image of A by f" ;
  • Direct image: f(A) is read "the direct image of A by f" ;
  • Powers: a^n is read "a to the n-th" ;
  • Limits: lim_{x -> 0} f(x) = 0 can be read "limit of f of x is 0 when x goes to 0" ;
  • Derivative: "df/dx" is read "the derivative of f with respect to x" ;
  • Integral: "Integrate f from a to b with respect to x" ;
  • Unions and Product of sets ;
  • A ⊂ B is read "A susbset of B" ;
  • a ∈ A is read "a in A" ;
  • quantifiers: forall and exists ;
  • symbols big sum and big product (ie. sum from n equals 0 to n = infinity) ;
  • binomial coefficient ;
  • how the reading of (3 + 2) * 2 differs from 3 + 2*2 ;
  • how to read the for basic operations +,×,÷,- in context ;
  • P(X|Y) is read "probability of X given Y" ;
  • P(X = k) is read "probability that X becomes k" ;
  • Square roots, n-th roots ;
  • Elementary functions : exp, log, log_a, cos, sin, tan, cosh, sinh, tanh and their inverse.

I tried to be comprehensive on symbols you may find very often. If you think that I forget some very important symbols please notify me.

  • 1
    As you say, this question might be a little broad as there are a lot of mathematical symbols! Maybe you could ask about some common ones, and then ask about any other specific ones in separate questions? Jun 23, 2016 at 7:58
  • 1
    @topomorto Then I will include a minimum requirements list for what I expect to be common symbols.
    – Lyle
    Jun 23, 2016 at 8:06
  • Partial answer: A ⊂ B is read "A는 B의 부분집합". For other notations, I have to read my math textbooks... Jun 23, 2016 at 8:29
  • I'd like to add (square) root (√) and (natural) logarithm (ln, log).
    – 파울울
    Jun 23, 2016 at 10:52
  • There was a great list on Reddit. reddit.com/r/Korean/comments/40qise/how_do_i_read_math_problems/… Can we recycle that answer here?
    – 파울울
    Jun 23, 2016 at 10:54

3 Answers 3


Reddit user /u/skyhi14 has written up a very good post on this fairly recently. Here's a link to his original post.


  • + − × ÷ = : 더하기, 빼기, 곱하기, 나누기, 은/는 respectively
  • Decimal point : 점
  • Parenthesis : 괄호 열고 / 괄호 닫고
  • ± : 플러스마이너스
  • +a, -a : 플러스 a, 마이너스 a

    48÷2(9+3) → 사십팔 나누기 이 괄호 열고 구 더하기 삼 괄호 닫고


  • a / b : b 분의 a

Powers and nth root

  • n^2 : n의 제곱
  • n^k : n의 k승 / n의 k제곱

    2^8 → 이의 팔승
    a^(1/8) → a의 팔분의 일승

  • Square root : 루트
  • Cubic root : 삼 승 루트

    -b ±√(b^2 − 4ac) / 2a → 이 에이 분의 마이너스 비 플러스마이너스 루트 비 제곱 마이너스 사 에이시


  • a! : a 팩토리얼


  • log_a(x) : 로그 a x
  • log(x) : 로그 x
  • ln(x) : 자연로그 x / 엘엔 x


  • lim(a→x) expr : 리미트 a가 x로 갈 때 expr
  • lim(a→∞) expr : 리미트 a가 무한대로 갈 때 expr


  • Σ (k=m→n) ak : 시그마 k는 m에서 n까지일 때 ak


  • f(x) : f x (에프 엑스)

Trigonometric function

  • sin(x) : 사인 x
  • cos, tan : 코사인, 탄젠트
  • cosec/csc, sec, cot : 코시컨트, 시컨트, 코탄젠트
  • asin, acos, atan, … : 아크사인, 아크코사인, 아크탄젠트


  • ∫ f(x)dx : 인테그럴 f x dx(에프 엑스 디엑스)
  • ∫[a,b] f(x)dx : 인테그럴 a에서 b까지 f x dx(에프 엑스 디엑스)


  • ∞ : 무한대
  • ʹ : 프라임
  • ^— : 바
  • 2
    This answer is already good but it covers things I forgot to add to my list but also, it omits things in my list. So I may suggest that we reassemble every thing in a community wiki answer. What do you think about it?
    – Lyle
    Jun 24, 2016 at 10:22
  • @永劫回帰 Great idea. I'll convert it to a community wiki.
    – user12
    Jun 25, 2016 at 16:47

Wow, it's a lot. I will answer some and I hope others will answer more!

Fraction: a/b is read "a over b" -> b분의 a (yes, the order is reversed!)

Functions: f(x) is read "f of x" -> 에프 엑스 (just f(x) read in Korean)

Powers: a^n is read "a to the n-th" -> a의 n제곱

+-*/: + -> 더하기, - -> 빼기, * -> 곱하기, / -> 나누기

+-*/ are always 더하기, 빼기, 곱하기, 나누기. They are not changed like 'multiplication' and 'times' in English, for example.

  • 1
    Some people say f(x) as "에프 오브 엑스". Jun 23, 2016 at 9:47
  • I am not so surprised for the inversion of a and b for fraction (I included it because I suspected it would be so). Just another side question: do you also write the denominator before the numerator (writing fraction up to bottom)?
    – Lyle
    Jun 23, 2016 at 9:59
  • No. When the fractions are written, the denominators are in the right side or lower side as usual. For example, "7분의 4" is 4/7.
    – JSong
    Jun 23, 2016 at 10:07
  • Yes, I may not have been clear. When you write (on paper) 4/7, do you write first 4 or 7?
    – Lyle
    Jun 23, 2016 at 10:20
  • 1
    @永劫回帰 Oh I see! For me, I usually write from bottom to top. So I write 7 first, horizontal bar next, and 4 last.
    – JSong
    Jun 24, 2016 at 1:44

P(X|Y) : 사건Y가 일어났을 때의 사건 X의 조건부확률

또는 사건 Y에 대한 사건 X의 조건부 확률

또는 사건 Y가 일어났을때 사건 X가 일어날 확률

P(X=k) : X가 k일 확률

f:X -> Y : X를 f의 정의역, Y를 f의 공역. f(X)는 f의 치역

f^{-1}(A) : f에 의한 A의 역상

sinh : 쌍곡사인(hyperbolic sine) 또는 하이퍼 사인

df/dx : f의 x에서의 미분

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.