what does the symbol < mean?


Tracy Jennings, Works at Noodle and here to help!

User avatar for Tracy Jennings

It depends on the context, but in pre-algebra, "<" means that the value to the right is "more than" the value to the left. (If you know music, think of the sign for a crescendo - it's bigger / louder at the end.)

Because algebraic equations are read from the left to the right, this means you usually say the first number is "less than" the second.

Here are a few examples:

0 < 1

"Zero is less than one." (or, "One is greater than zero.")

10 < 1000

"Ten is less than one thousand."

You can also have some fun with it:

the cute factor of baby hedgehogs < the cute factor of baby elephants

"Baby hedgehogs are less cute than baby elephants."

Lorde < Taylor Swift

Literally, "Lorde is smaller than Taylor Swift." Or, figuratively, "Lorde is less big right now than Taylor Swift."

Brian Monetti, I <3 Noodle!

User avatar for Brian Monetti

The < symbol is used in mathematics to indicate Less than. An example would be: 3 < 5 which means "3 is less than 5". Similarly, you might see something like 3 < X < 5, where X is a number that is somewhere between 3 and 5, such as 4! Hope this helps!

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