Prime Symbols

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HTML Meaning
Prime Symbol (Minute)
Represents minutes when indicating angles or time.
Double Prime Symbol (Second)
Represents seconds when indicating angles or time.

What are Prime Symbols?

Prime symbols, represented by ′ and ″, are used to denote subdivisions of angles and units of time. Specifically, the single prime (′) represents minutes, and the double prime (″) signifies seconds. The less common triple prime (‴) can denote thirds in certain contexts.

How to Use Prime Symbols

Prime symbols follow the number they modify. Common uses include:

  • Indicating angles: 45°15′, signifying 45 degrees and 15 minutes.
  • In geographical coordinates: 35°N 15′ latitude or 75°W 30′ longitude.
  • Representing time: 3h 15′ 30″, which means 3 hours, 15 minutes, and 30 seconds.

Relationship Between Prime Symbols and the Degree Symbol

While the degree symbol (°) denotes whole degrees, the prime symbols indicate finer measurements. Specifically, one degree is equivalent to 60 minutes (60′), and one minute corresponds to 60 seconds (60″). This relationship ensures precise representation of angles and time durations.

Common Uses of Prime Symbols in Various Disciplines

  • Mathematics: Prime symbols denote subdivisions of angles.
  • Geography: They represent latitude and longitude in minutes and seconds.
  • Astronomy: They express the size of celestial objects when observed from Earth in minutes or seconds.

History of Prime Symbols

Prime symbols trace their origins to ancient astronomical and navigational methods. They later became standardized as units of measure for angles and time in various scientific and navigational contexts.

How to Type Prime Symbols Using Keyboard Shortcuts and Alt Codes

  • On Windows for ′: Hold the Alt key and type 8242 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key.
  • On Windows for ″: Hold the Alt key and type 8243, then release.
  • On Mac for both: Use the standard quotation marks keys.
  • For HTML coding for ′: ′ and for ″: ″.

Symbols' Images

Prime Symbol (Minute)Double Prime Symbol (Second)