# How to express the relationship that two numbers are not equal? [closed]

I know that for two numbers `x` and `y`, relationships like `x < y` (and `x <= y` sometimes) are called inequalities. Note here, there is an order between x and y, for example (`3 < 5`).

But what's the correct usage to express the relationship that two numbers are merely not equal to each other, i.e. `x <> y`?

Do we also call this an "inequality" (could be confusing) or do we call this something else?

I tried to use unequality, and spell checkers always tell me it's wrong.

• "These two numbers are equal".... "These two numbers are unequal"... Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:36
• This might be a better fit for the math section of SE. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:39
• Unequal, not equal, not the same, different.... (And spell checker is only there as an assist. Use a dictionary to check the spelling of words you're unsure of.) Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:41
• (How is "inequality" confusing?) Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:43
• Have you looked up 'inequality' and 'unequal'? Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 17:15

The term you are looking for is inequality.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines inequality as:

1 the quality of being unequal or uneven... Middle English inequalite, from Latin inaequalitat-, inaequalitas, from inaequalis unequal, from in- + aequalis equal First Known Use: 15th century

• Doesn't quite fit the OP; "express the relationship that two numbers are merely not equal to each other"... 'The values 7 and 23 are ______", though I suppose you could say "7 and 23 have inequality", but it seems a bit clunky... Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 14:48
• @MarvMills - Where does the OP say "The values 7 and 23 are ______"? Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 15:57
• @HotLicks Clearly the OP does not- it is practical example of a sentence using the form the OP does imply, showing that the suggestion in this answer would not work as well. I am sure you knew that. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:27
• @MarvMills - So, why don't you answer the question? Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:38
• @HotLicks why don't you? This line of questioning is off-topic and pointless. I'm out. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 16:40

In mathematics, it is common to say that two numbers are distinct.

x and y are distinct integers.

x, y, and z are (pairwise) distinct integers.

• What about 'unequal'? Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 18:04

Some mathematicians and computer scientists have tried to introduce "disequality" to mean a statement that two numbers (or other entities) are distinct. As far as I can tell, this suggestion is not catching on.