'And' can be represented with an '&' or even a '+' in some cases. But I have yet to find a symbolic abbreviation for 'or'. Are there any such abbreviations?

Some examples of what I mean include,

  • Plus/Positive = + / Minus/Negative = -
  • And = &
  • Number = #

Many of them are related to math but 'and' and 'or' are what I was looking at.

  • The symbolic abbreviation "/" you used in "Plus/Positive" is often read aloud as "or".
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 4:49
  • Why not | or || ? The former represents bitwise or and the latter represents boolean or in few programming languages. Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 4:50
  • Looking at the suggestions it seems like '/' is colloquial, '|' or '||' is computer science and 'v' is mathematical or logical notation. All of these are really helpful answers. Just what I was looking for! I think it would be great if these can be put in one answer. I can't up vote comments or I would. Thank you everyone!
    – Symbio
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 4:54
  • See also the Wikipedia article on "Logical disjunction," which identifies the logical connective symbol for "or" as being "∨ or +".
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 5:39

1 Answer 1


Vel, "∨", is the symbol for logical disjunction, "or", in symbolic logic. The Wikipedia entry notes that Russel and Whitehead used the symbol in their Principia Mathematica of 1910. As several commenters have noted, various systems of formal logic employ alternative symbols, including "+" and "∥", to represent this non-exclusive sense of "or". The exclusive "or" (either a or b but not both: "xor") can be represented by the symbols "⊕" and "⊻".

  • & is more of a common usage or computer science way to say 'and'. Is the only way to say 'or' in logic notation? I just haven't seen it used often in everyday writing. I know it's used in logic and math courses. Did it just not catch on like '&' did I wonder?
    – Symbio
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 4:48
  • @Symbio, the range of these symbols reflects the meanings of 'or' in propositional logic and boolean algebra. Three meanings are expressed by 'or', and consequently there are (at least) three symbols for 'or', as well as one for 'and'. See List of logic symbols.
    – JEL
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 5:18
  • Being a Latinist, I must ask: does vel really correspond well to English or? In Latin, vel is not wholly disjunctive: it means 'either this or that, or both', whereas aut means 'either this or that, but not both'.
    – Anonym
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 21:37
  • It should be noted, though, that this symbol is intended to be used only within the formulae of formal logic, not as a substitute for or in the sentences of English. In that respect it is not analogous to the ampersand, and in so far as this is the answer to the question, the question is not about English language and usage.
    – jsw29
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 16:52
  • In Boolean math, as in other math, * is often used for multiplication (i.e., AND), and + is often used for addition (i.e., OR). Similarly for set theory, though those particular symbols (* for intersection, + for union) are less common.
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 20:11

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