Division (mathematics)

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In mathematics, the word "division" means the operation which is the opposite of multiplication. The symbols for division are the slash () and the fraction line, as in:


where each of the three expressions means "6 divided by 3", with 2 as the answer. The first number is the dividend (6), and the second number is the divisor (3). The result (or answer) of a division is the quotient, where any left-over amount as whole numbers is called the "remainder".[1] For example, gives quotient 3 with remainder 2, all expressed as the mixed number or 3.5).

The numbers involved in division can be very big, such as the case with two hundred: , or with 7 billion: (where the quotient is equal to 7 million).

With multiplication[change | change source]

If times equals , written as:

where is not zero, then divided by equals , written as:


For instance,



In the above expression, is called the dividend, the divisor and the quotient.[2]

Division by zero, as in

is not defined.

Notation[change | change source]

Division is most often shown by placing the dividend over the divisor with a horizontal line, also called a vinculum, between them. For example, divided by is written as

This can be read as "a divided by b", or "a over b". A way to express division all on one line is to write the dividend, then a slash, then the divisor, like this:

This is the usual way to specify division in most computer programming languages, since it can easily be typed as a simple sequence of characters.

A typographical variation which is halfway between these two forms uses a slash, but elevates the dividend and lowers the divisor:


Any of these forms can be used to display a fraction. A fraction is a division expression where both dividend and divisor are integers (in which case, the two numbers are typically referred to as numerator and denominator). A fraction is an accepted way of writing numbers. It is not always expected that the result of the division is written in decimals.

In some non-English-speaking cultures, "a divided by b" is written as . However, in English-speaking countries the colon is restricted to expressing the related concept of ratios (where reads "a is to b").

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Division". www.mathsisfun.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weisstein, Eric W. "Division". mathworld.wolfram.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.

Other websites[change | change source]