Plus Symbol PNG Transparent Images

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Submitted by on Aug 27, 2021

The plus and minus signs, + and -, are mathematical symbols that denote positive and negative values. Furthermore, + denotes the operation of addition, which produces a total, and – denotes the operation of subtraction, which produces a difference. Their use has been expanded to a variety of additional, more or less comparable meanings. The Latin words plus and minus simply “more” and “less,” respectively.

Though the signs are now as well-known as the alphabet or Hindu-Arabic numbers, they are not particularly old. For example, the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for addition resembled a pair of legs walking in the direction in which the text was written (Egyptian could be written from right to left or left to right), with the opposite sign signifying subtraction:

Nicole Oresme’s 14th-century manuscripts reveal what may be one of the oldest examples of the + symbol for plus.


The letters “P” and “M” were often used in early 15th century Europe. The symbols (P with overline, p, for più (more), i.e. plus, and M with overline, m, for meno (less), i.e. minus) were first printed and published in Venice in 1494 in Luca Pacioli’s mathematics compendium, Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportions et proportionalità.

The + symbol is a shortening of the Latin: et (comparable to the evolution of the ampersand &). The m may be formed from a tilde placed over the letter m to signify subtraction, or it could be derived from a shorthand version of the letter m.

Johannes Widmann refers to the symbols minus and + as minus and mer (Modern German mehr; “more”) in his 1489 treatise: “was ist, das ist minus, and das + ist das mer.” In the treatise, they were employed to signify surplus and deficit rather than addition and subtraction; their first usage in the modern meaning was in a work by Henricus Grammateus in 1518.

“There is other 2 signes infrequent usage of which the first is formed thus + and betokeneth more: the other is made thus – and betokeneth lesse,” wrote Robert Recorde, the creator of the equals sign, in The Whetstone of Witte in 1557.

As in 2 + 3 = 5, the plus sign, +, is a binary operator that denotes addition. It may also be used as a unary operator that does not alter the operand (+x is the same as x). This notation can be used to accentuate the positiveness of a number, particularly when compared to negative numbers (+5 vs -5).

Depending on the mathematical system in question, the plus sign can also represent a variety of additional operations. Many algebraic structures, such as vector spaces and matrix rings, feature an operation named addition or one that is equal to it. Although it is customary to use the plus sign exclusively to express commutative operations, this is not always the case.

In chemistry and physics, the sign is also used. Other uses has additional information.

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