This page is about the meaning, origin and characteristic of the symbol, emblem, seal, sign, logo or flag: Infinity Symbol.
The infinity symbol (sometimes called the lemniscate) is a mathematical symbol representing the concept of infinity.
The symbol is encoded in Unicode at U+221E ∞ infinity (HTML: ∞ ∞) and in LaTeX as \infty.
The Unicode set of symbols also includes several variant forms of the infinity symbol, that are less frequently available in fonts: U+29DC ⧜ incomplete infinity (HTML: ⧜ ISOtech entity ⧜), U+29DD ⧝ tie over infinity (HTML: ⧝) and U+29DE ⧞ infinity negated with vertical bar (HTML: ⧞) in block Miscellaneous Mathematical Symbols-B.
Be careful not to confuse ⧜ (incomplete infinity) with U+221D ∝ proportional to.
The shape of a sideways figure eight has a long pedigree; for instance, it appears in the cross of Saint Boniface, wrapped around the bars of a Latin cross. However, John Wallis is credited with introducing the infinity symbol with its mathematical meaning in 1655, in his De sectionibus conicis. Wallis did not explain his choice of this symbol, but it has been conjectured to be a variant form of a Roman numeral for 1,000 (originally CIƆ, also CƆ), which was sometimes used to mean "many", or of the Greek letter ω (omega), the last letter in the Greek alphabet.
In modern mysticism, the infinity symbol has become identified with a variation of the ouroboros, an ancient image of a snake eating its own tail that has also come to symbolize the infinite, and the ouroboros is sometimes drawn in figure-eight form to reflect this identification, rather than in its more traditional circular form.
The well known shape and meaning of the infinity symbol have made it a common typographic element of graphic design. For instance, the Métis flag, used by the Canadian Métis people in the early 19th century, is based around this symbol. In modern commerce, corporate logos featuring this symbol have been used by, among others, Infiniti, Room for PlayStation Portable, Visual Studio 2010, and Lazy 8 Studios.
Category: Mathematical Symbols.
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