In

^{R}'' the equivalence class of ''x'', consisting of all elements ''z'' such that ''x R z''. Then the relation ''x R y'' is equivalent with the equality ''x^{R}'' = ''y^{R}''. It follows that equality is the finest equivalence relation on any set ''S'' in the sense that it is the relation that has the smallest equivalence classes (every class is reduced to a single element).
In some contexts, equality is sharply distinguished from ''

mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...

, equality is a relationship between two quantities or, more generally two mathematical expression
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). I ...

s, asserting that the quantities have the same value, or that the expressions represent the same mathematical object
A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics.
In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deductive reasoning and mathematical proofs ...

. The equality between and is written , and pronounced equals . The symbol "" is called an "equals sign
The equals sign (, ) or equal sign (), formerly known as the equality sign, is the , which is used to indicate in some sense. In an , it is placed between two that have the same value, or for which one studies the conditions under which the ...

". Two objects that are not equal are said to be distinct.
For example:
* $x=y$ means that and denote the same object.
* The identity
Identity may refer to:
Social sciences
* Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology
Group expression and affiliation
* Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...

$(x+1)^2=x^2+2x+1$ means that if is any number, then the two expressions have the same value. This may also be interpreted as saying that the two sides of the equals sign represent the same function
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...

.
* $\backslash \; =\; \backslash $ if and only if $P(x)\; \backslash Leftrightarrow\; Q(x).$ This assertion, which uses set-builder notation
In set theory
illustrating the intersection (set theory), intersection of two set (mathematics), sets.
Set theory is a branch of mathematical logic that studies Set (mathematics), sets, which informally are collections of objects. Although any ...

, means that if the elements satisfying the property $P(x)$ are the same as the elements satisfying $Q(x),$ then the two uses of the set-builder notation define the same set. This property is often expressed as "two sets that have the same elements are equal." It is one of the usual axioms of set theory
Set theory is the branch of mathematical logic that studies Set (mathematics), sets, which can be informally described as collections of objects. Although objects of any kind can be collected into a set, set theory, as a branch of mathematics, i ...

, called axiom of extensionality
In axiomatic set theory and the branches of logic, mathematics, and computer science that use it, the axiom of extensionality, or axiom of extension, is one of the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory.
Formal statement
In the formal language ...

.
Etymology

Theetymology
Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English
''The'' () is a grammatical article
Article often refers to:
* Article (grammar)
An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...

of the word is from the Latin '''' (“equal”, “like”, “comparable”, “similar”) from '''' (“equal”, “level”, “fair”, “just”).
Basic properties

These last three properties make equality anequivalence relation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

. They were originally included among the Peano axioms
In mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is the study of formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research in mathematical logic commonly addresses the mathematical pr ...

for natural numbers. Although the symmetric and transitive properties are often seen as fundamental, they can be deduced from substitution and reflexive properties.
Equality as predicate

When ''A'' and ''B'' are not fully specified or depend on some variables, equality is aproposition
In logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, lab ...

, which may be true for some values and false for other values. Equality is a binary relation
In mathematics, a binary relation associates elements of one set, called the ''domain'', with elements of another set, called the ''codomain''. A binary relation over Set (mathematics), sets and is a new set of ordered pairs consisting of elem ...

(i.e., a two-argument predicate
Predicate or predication may refer to:
Computer science
*Syntactic predicate (in parser technology) guidelines the parser process
Linguistics
*Predicate (grammar), a grammatical component of a sentence
Philosophy and logic
* Predication (philo ...

) which may produce a truth value
In logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, la ...

(''false'' or ''true'') from its arguments. In computer programming
Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis, generating algorithms, Profilin ...

, its computation from the two expressions is known as comparison
File:Comparison of dietary fat composition.png, A chart showing a comparison of qualities of a variety of cooking oils, aimed at helping the reader decide which choices would be best for their health.
Comparison or comparing is the act of evaluat ...

.
Identities

When ''A'' and ''B'' may be viewed asfunctions
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern comp ...

of some variables, then ''A'' = ''B'' means that ''A'' and ''B'' define the same function. Such an equality of functions is sometimes called an identity
Identity may refer to:
Social sciences
* Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology
Group expression and affiliation
* Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...

. An example is $\backslash left(x\; +\; 1\backslash right)\backslash left(x\; +\; 1\backslash right)\; =\; x^2\; +\; 2\; x\; +\; 1.$ Sometimes, but not always, an identity is written with a triple bar
The triple bar, or tribar ≡, is a symbol with multiple, context-dependent meanings. It has the appearance of an equals sign
featuring the equal sign
The equals sign (British English, Unicode Consortium) or equal sign (American English), ...

: $\backslash left(x\; +\; 1\backslash right)\backslash left(x\; +\; 1\backslash right)\; \backslash equiv\; x^2\; +\; 2\; x\; +\; 1.$
Equations

Anequation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ge ...

is a problem of finding values of some variables, called , for which the specified equality is true. The term "equation" may also refer to an equality relation that is satisfied only for the values of the variables that one is interested in. For example, $x^2\; +\; y^2\; =\; 1$ is the of the unit circle
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

.
There is no standard notation that distinguishes an equation from an identity, or other use of the equality relation: one has to guess an appropriate interpretation from the semantics of expressions and the context. An identity is to be true for all values of variables in a given domain. An "equation" may sometimes mean an identity, but more often than not, it a subset of the variable space to be the subset where the equation is true.
Congruences

In some cases, one may consider as equal two mathematical objects that are only equivalent for the properties being considered. Ingeometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

for instance, two geometric shape
A shape is the form of an object or its external boundary, outline, or external Surface (mathematics), surface, as opposed to other properties such as color, texture, or material type.
Classification of simple shapes
Some simple shapes can ...

s are said to be equal when one may be moved to coincide with the other. The word congruence (and the associated symbol $\backslash cong$) is also used for this kind of equality.
Approximate equality

There are some logic systems that do not have any notion of equality. This reflects the undecidability of the equality of tworeal number
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no g ...

s, defined by formulas involving the integer
An integer (from the Latin
Latin (, or , ) is a classical language
A classical language is a language
A language is a structured system of communication
Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...

s, the basic arithmetic operation
Arithmetic (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek
Greek may refer to:
Greece
Anything of, from, or related to Greece
Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...

s, the logarithm
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ...

and the exponential function
The exponential function is a mathematical function
Function or functionality may refer to:
Computing
* Function key
A function key is a key on a computer
A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of ...

. In other words, there cannot exist any algorithm
In and , an algorithm () is a finite sequence of , computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are always and are used as specifications for performing s, , , and other ...

for deciding such an equality.
The binary relation
In mathematics, a binary relation associates elements of one set, called the ''domain'', with elements of another set, called the ''codomain''. A binary relation over Set (mathematics), sets and is a new set of ordered pairs consisting of elem ...

" is approximately equal" (denoted by the symbol $\backslash approx$) between real number
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no g ...

s or other things, even if more precisely defined, is not transitive (since many small differences can add up to something big). However, equality almost everywhere
In measure theory
Measure is a fundamental concept of . Measures provide a mathematical abstraction for common notions like , /, , , of events, and — after — . These seemingly distinct concepts are innately very similar and may, in many ...

''is'' transitive.
A questionable equality under test may be denoted using the ≟ symbol.
Relation with equivalence and isomorphism

Viewed as a relation, equality is the archetype of the more general concept of anequivalence relation
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

on a set: those binary relations that are reflexive, symmetric
Symmetry (from Greek συμμετρία ''symmetria'' "agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement") in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance. In mathematics, "symmetry" has a more pre ...

and transitive
Transitivity or transitive may refer to:
Grammar
* Transitivity (grammar), a property of verbs that relates to whether a verb can take direct objects
* Transitive verb, a verb which takes an object
* Transitive case, a grammatical case to mark arg ...

. The identity relation is an equivalence relation. Conversely, let ''R'' be an equivalence relation, and let us denote by ''xequivalence
Equivalence or Equivalent may refer to:
Arts and entertainment
*Album-equivalent unit
The album-equivalent unit is a measurement unit in music industry to define the consumption of music that equals the purchase of one album copy. This consumpti ...

'' or ''isomorphism
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

.'' For example, one may distinguish ''fractions
A fraction (from Latin ', "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyday English, a fraction describes how many parts of a certain size there are, for example, one-half, eight-fifths, ...

'' from ''rational number
In mathematics, a rational number is a number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction (mathematics), fraction of two integers, a numerator and a non-zero denominator . For example, is a rational number, as is every integer (e.g. ) ...

s,'' the latter being equivalence classes of fractions: the fractions $1/2$ and $2/4$ are distinct as fractions (as different strings of symbols) but they "represent" the same rational number (the same point on a number line). This distinction gives rise to the notion of a quotient set
Set, The Set, or SET may refer to:
Science, technology, and mathematics Mathematics
* Set (mathematics), a collection of distinct elements or members
* Category of sets, the category whose objects and morphisms are sets and total functions, respe ...

.
Similarly, the sets
:$\backslash $ and $\backslash $
are not equal sets — the first consists of letters, while the second consists of numbers — but they are both sets of three elements and thus isomorphic, meaning that there is a bijection
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and ...

between them. For example
:$\backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 1,\; \backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 2,\; \backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 3.$
However, there are other choices of isomorphism, such as
:$\backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 3,\; \backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 2,\; \backslash text\; \backslash mapsto\; 1,$
and these sets cannot be identified without making such a choice — any statement that identifies them "depends on choice of identification". This distinction, between equality and isomorphism, is of fundamental importance in category theory
Category theory formalizes mathematical structure
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and ...

and is one motivation for the development of category theory.
Logical definitions

Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the "#1666–1676, 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist, and diplomat. He is a promin ...

characterized the notion of equality as follows:
: Given any
In mathematical logic
Mathematical logic, also called formal logic, is a subfield of mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (alg ...

''x'' and ''y'', ''x'' = ''y'' if and only if
In logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents st ...

, given any predicate
Predicate or predication may refer to:
Computer science
*Syntactic predicate (in parser technology) guidelines the parser process
Linguistics
*Predicate (grammar), a grammatical component of a sentence
Philosophy and logic
* Predication (philo ...

''P'', ''P''(''x'') if and only if ''P''(''y'').
Equality in set theory

Equality of sets is axiomatized in set theory in two different ways, depending on whether the axioms are based on a first-order language with or without equality.Set equality based on first-order logic with equality

In first-order logic with equality, the axiom of extensionality states that two sets which ''contain'' the same elements are the same set. * Logic axiom: ''x'' = ''y'' ⇒ ∀''z'', (''z'' ∈ ''x'' ⇔ ''z'' ∈ ''y'') * Logic axiom: ''x'' = ''y'' ⇒ ∀''z'', (''x'' ∈ ''z'' ⇔ ''y'' ∈ ''z'') * Set theory axiom: (∀''z'', (''z'' ∈ ''x'' ⇔ ''z'' ∈ ''y'')) ⇒ ''x'' = ''y'' Incorporating half of the work into the first-order logic may be regarded as a mere matter of convenience, as noted by Lévy. : "The reason why we take up first-order predicate calculus ''with equality'' is a matter of convenience; by this we save the labor of defining equality and proving all its properties; this burden is now assumed by the logic."Set equality based on first-order logic without equality

In first-order logic without equality, two sets are ''defined'' to be equal if they contain the same elements. Then the axiom of extensionality states that two equal sets ''are contained in'' the same sets.. * Set theory definition: "''x'' = ''y''" means ∀''z'', (''z'' ∈ ''x'' ⇔ ''z'' ∈ ''y'') * Set theory axiom: ''x'' = ''y'' ⇒ ∀''z'', (''x'' ∈ ''z'' ⇔ ''y'' ∈ ''z'')See also

*Extensionality
In logic, extensionality, or extensional equality, refers to principles that judge objects to be equality (mathematics), equal if they have the same external properties. It stands in contrast to the concept of intensionality, which is concerned with ...

*Homotopy type theory
In mathematical logic
Mathematical logic, also called formal logic, is a subfield of mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (al ...

*Inequality
Inequality may refer to:
Economics
* Attention inequality
Attention inequality is a term used to target the inequality of distribution of attention across users on social networks, people in general, and for scientific papers. Yun Family Foundat ...

*List of mathematical symbols
A mathematical symbol is a figure or a combination of figures that is used to represent a mathematical object
A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics.
In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that ...

*Logical equality
Logical equality is a logical operator that corresponds to equality in Boolean algebra
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, struct ...

*Proportionality (mathematics)
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...

Notes

References

* * * * * * *External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Equality (Mathematics) Mathematical logic Binary relations Elementary arithmetic Equivalence (mathematics)