What does this dimension (see image), and particularly the divide symbol in it, mean please? I'm not a mechanical engineer and couldn't find the answer by searching for terms with the word "divide" in them.

If it makes any difference, I guess the drawing was done by a German engineer, as it's one of the dimensions given for a worktop cut-out for a Bosch gas hob.

Obviously it doesn't actually mean "divide" as that would result in <1 mm. Could it mean a range? So that this dimension of the cut-out can be between 480 and 492 mm after the tolerance is included?

Dimension with "divide" symbol


1 Answer 1


The "division sign" is a form of obelus that in Scandinavia sometimes meant subtraction, not division, and in many European countries (e.g. Russia, Poland, Italy) it is used in engineering to denote a range of values.

Germany is not specifically mentioned, but given the context you are almost certainly correct that in this case it means the range of possible values is from 480 to 490 (plus the tolerance).

The use of the "division sign" is specifically recommended against in ISO math standards exactly because it has different meanings in non-anglophone countries.

  • $\begingroup$ Since my original post, this item arrived and the printed version of the drawing included in the box had the dimension written as "480-490", so it does indeed appear to be a range. Thank you for the background of the use of those symbols - that is interesting. $\endgroup$
    – Cog77
    Dec 16, 2022 at 21:43

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