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This Guy's Simple Explanation Of What The Division Sign Actually Represents Is Blowing A Lot Of People's Minds

This makes so much sense.

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On Sunday, a guy named Abdul Dremali tweeted about a realization that totally blew his mind. He claimed he had learned the division sign is actually a blank fraction.

i just found out that the division symbol (÷) is just a blank fraction with dots replacing the numerator and denominator. oh my god.

"I just found out that the division symbol (÷) is just a blank fraction with dots replacing the numerator and denominator. oh my god," he wrote.

Is this true? Well, the division symbol, officially known as an obelus, was originally used in medieval manuscripts to mark when the editor was unsure about a passage or quote.

Instagram: @eyedivision

The sign was first used to indicate division in mathematics in 1659 by Johann Heinrich Rahn, a Swedish mathematician, in his book, TeutscheAlgebr. He didn't say if it was supposed to be a blank fraction when he used it.

Instagram: @daintydora

Another fun fact: the obelus was also used at one point to indicate subtraction.

It is considered a pretty old-school way to indicate division, and most mathematicians nowadays use a / symbol instead.

However, anecdotally, Dremali's claim is correct. Steve Fearnley, a math teacher and author, wrote in the Oxford Press that teachers have used the "blank fraction" concept to help kids remember how to divide in classrooms.

Instagram: @eyedivision

"I had used this sign without question for 30 years before hearing a colleague, a chemistry teacher, telling a student about a fraction being a division ‘Remember the divide sign – the two dots stand for the two numbers. So ¾ means 3 ÷ 4, the dots stand for the 3 and the 4,'" he wrote. "A neat little idea for students faced with, for example, converting a fraction to a decimal."

It seems more teachers should be using this trick, because people on Twitter said their minds were totally blown.

@Advil @khaled74 are you freaking kidding me, this just changed my life

They were shook.

@Advil Wait, what?? This is WAY bigger than learning the little arrow by the gas symbol in your car dash tells you… https://t.co/2cLoxqFkFO

"Wooooahhh," -Twitter.

"Wtf this is more math I learned in one tweet than I have all throughout high school," wrote one person.

@Advil @Autumn__faithhh wtf this is more math I learned in one tweet than I have all throughout highschool

Many said teachers need to tell kids about this trick.

@Advil I'm pretty sure teachers don't know this or we'd all learn it as a child instead of figuring it out late in… https://t.co/iJh2T1ClnN

Some said they HAD been taught this, and it made a huge difference in their understanding.

@GuanoLad @Advil My physical science teacher taught us, it was one of the best lectures on language & math I ever heard.

People also, of course, began to share other things that blew their minds when they first learned them.

Like this.

@Advil @LolaHeatherton This is like when I was in college and it FINALLY hit me that Ice Capades was a pun on the word "escapades."

Or this.

@Advil It's like finding out Fraiser was a spin-off.

Or (LOL) this.

@Advil @Valpalbetch I was mid-30s before I realized you can add any topping you want to a frozen pizza.

  1. So, have you heard this trick before?

This Guy's Simple Explanation Of What The Division Sign Actually Represents Is Blowing A Lot Of People's Minds

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Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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