I've been doing research to find the terminology of equations, but I can't find a single term for the possible symbols that can go between the left-hand side and the right-hand side of an equation. On the other hand, I have found partial terms:

But is there one umbrella term for all three? The Wikipedia articles for these terms imply it might be called "Relation?" Is that correct?

Example sentence: "The ??? sits between the left-hand side and right hand side of an equation."

For context, I'm a programmer and I need to store one of these symbols in a variable, but I don't know what name to give it.

  • Would operator fit your purpose?
    – Jim Mack
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 1:09
  • @JimMack As far as I understand it, it doesn't. Operators are symbols within the left-hand side and within the right hand side of an equation, but they don't sit between the left-hand side in the right hand side. if I'm wrong about this, I don't think it's a good fit for another reason: addition, multiplication, etc. are operators, and I'm looking for something more specific. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 1:13
  • 1
    What you refer to as an "inequation" (!= or "bang equals") is a programming symbol not a mathematical one because the bang is a general negation symbol in many programming languages (for example !bnvar where bnvar is a boolean). In mathematics two inequalities (<>) or a struck-through equals sign (which I don't have on this device) mean "is different from" or " is not equal to".
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 7:44

2 Answers 2


The term I normally see for this is "relational operator". Either of these terms might be interpreted a bit more broadly; for example, Python programmers will also include the in operator here (which tests set membership, as well as substring search) and the is operator (which tests object identity). (The Python documentation calls these "comparisons", FWIW.


I believe the term I'm looking for is "Comparison operator."

  • 1
    Same idea: "Comparator" is less common but is a single word. Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 5:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.