Degree Symbol

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° °
Default degree sign
This is the standard degree symbol used to represent degrees in temperature, angles, or other contexts where the concept of degree is applicable.

What is the Degree Symbol?

The degree symbol, designated as °, is commonly used in various contexts to represent the notion of 'degree'. It is most frequently seen in temperature readings (like 25°C), and also to signify angles (e.g., a 90° right angle).

How to Use the Degree Symbol

The degree symbol is used in a straightforward manner, directly following the number it modifies. Some common uses include:

  • In temperature readings: 37°C or 98.6°F. Alternatively, integrated symbols can also be used: 37℃ or 98.6℉.
  • To indicate angles: a 45° angle.
  • In geographical coordinates: 35°N latitude or 75°W longitude.

Note that when indicating temperature, it's essential to also specify the temperature scale, either by using Celsius (°C or ) or Fahrenheit (°F or ). Remember that the integrated symbols already include the degree symbol.

Difference Between the Degree Symbol and Other Similar Symbols

It's essential to distinguish the degree symbol from other similar-looking symbols. For instance, the Ring Above Symbol (˚) might look alike but has a different use. Always ensure you're using the correct symbol for clarity and accuracy.

Common Misunderstandings with the Degree Symbol

  1. Confusing the degree symbol with the prime (′) and double prime (″) symbols, which denote minutes and seconds respectively in geographic coordinate systems.
  2. Forgetting to specify the temperature scale (℃ or ℉) when denoting temperatures, leading to potential misinterpretation.

History of the Degree Symbol

The exact origin of the degree symbol is not well-documented, but its usage can be traced back centuries, especially in astronomical contexts. As standardized measurement systems developed, the symbol's application became more widespread, especially in mathematics and science.

How to Type the Degree Symbol Using Keyboard Shortcuts and Alt Codes

  • On Windows: Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and type 0176 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key.
  • On Mac: Press Option + Shift + 8.
  • On many Linux systems: Press Ctrl + Shift + u, then type b0 and press Enter.
  • For HTML coding: Use the named entity ° or the numeric entity °.

Common Uses of the Degree Symbol in Various Disciplines

  • Mathematics: The degree symbol is commonly used to denote angles. For instance, in trigonometry, one might refer to the angles of a triangle as 30°, 60°, and 90°.
  • Geography: In geographical coordinates, the degree symbol denotes latitude and longitude, such as 40°N 70°W.
  • Physics and Engineering: The degree symbol is used to denote temperature, especially in thermodynamics, like the boiling point of water at 100°C.
  • Astronomy: The degree symbol is used to express the size of celestial objects or phenomena when observed from Earth, like the apparent size of the moon being about 0.5°.

Angle Notations and Their Relation to the Degree Symbol

Angles are fundamental in mathematics, physics, and engineering. While the degree symbol (°) is universally used to denote the measure of an angle, there are various symbols that represent specific types of angles or angular constructs. Understanding the distinction between these symbols and the general degree symbol is essential for clear and accurate communication. Here are some of the most common and specialized angle symbols:

  • - Represents an angle formed by two rays with a common endpoint.
  • - Denotes a right angle, which measures exactly 90°.
  • and - Symbols used for angles, with often representing a specific angular separation between two lines.
  • - Often used to represent a measured angle, especially in geometric contexts.
  • - Denotes the angle between three or more planes intersecting at a common point.
  • and - Represent arc angles which are related to circular segments.
  • , , , , , , , , , , and - These are specialized symbols, used in various mathematical or technical contexts to denote specific angular constructs or relationships.
  • 📐 - Represents a drafting tool, the angle or set square, often used to draw or measure angles.

The degree symbol (°) itself is used after a number to quantify the magnitude of an angle. For instance, when we say an angle measures 45°, we're specifying that its magnitude is halfway between a right angle (90°) and a straight line (0° or 180°). While these angle notations help in visualizing or constructing angles, the degree symbol quantifies them.

Useful Tools

Online Protractor - This interactive web app allows you to measure angles using your mobile device.

Symbols' Images

Default degree sign