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Definition

element-of symbol

The element-of symbol is used in mathematical set theory to indicate that a point, object, or number belongs to a certain set. The symbol resembles the lowercase Greek letter epsilon, but stretched out ( ). The symbol is read "is an element of," "is a member of," "is in," or "belongs to."

As an example of the use of the element-of symbol, consider that 3 is an element of the set containing the first five positive integers. We write this as follows:

3 {1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

When a point, object, or number does not belong to a specified set, the not-element-of symbol is used. This looks like the element-of symbol with a forward slash through it ( ). It is read "is not an element of," "is not a member of," "is not in," or "does not belong to."

As an example of the use of the not-element-of symbol, we can say that 7 is not in the set containing the first five positive integers:

7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

Also see Mathematical Symbols .

This was last updated in September 2005
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