Greek Alphabet

Pronunciation: /grik ˈælfəˌbɛt/ ?

The Greek alphabet is often used in mathematics. The Greek letters can be used as variables, or represent concepts or constants. The conventional use of some of the letters is given.


Conventional Use
AlphaΑαSee Alpha in MathWorld.
BetaΒβSee Beta in MathWorld.
GammaΓγGamma is used to represent the gamma function, a generalization of factorial.
DeltaΔδΔ is used to represent the concept of change. 'Δx' (read delta-x) means the change in x
EpsilonΕεε is used to represent a very small positive quantity. See also Epsilon in Mathworld.
\bgcolor{f8f7f0}{\zeta\left(x\right)\;\equiv\;\frac{1}{\Gamma\left(x\right)}\int_0^{\infty}\frac{u^{x-1}}{e^u-1}du}See Riemann Zeta Function in MathWorld.
\bgcolor{f8f7f0}{\eta\left(s\right)\;\equiv\;\sum_{k=1}^{\infty}\frac{\left(-1\right)^{k-1}}{k^s}}\bgcolor{f8f7f0}{=\;\left(1-2^{1-s}\right)}\zeta\left(s\right)See Dirichlet Eta Function in MathWorld
ThetaΘθθ is used as a variable to represent the measure of an angle.
IotaΙιblank space
(x^2+y^2)y^2=x^2See Kappa Curve in MathWorld.
LambdaΛλblank space
MuΜμblank space
\bgcolor{f8f7f0}{\nu\left(x\right)\;\equiv\;\int_0^{\infty}\frac{x^t}{\gamma\left(t+1\right)}}, \bgcolor{f8f7f0}{\nu\left(x,\;\alpha\right)\;\equiv\;\int_0^{\infty}\frac{x^{\alpha+t}}{\gamma\left(\alpha+t+1\right)}}See Nu Function in Mathworld.
\bgcolor{f8f7f0}{\xi\left(z\right)\;\equiv\;\frac{1}{2}z\left(z-1\right)\frac{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{2}z\right)}{\pi^\frac{z}{2}}\zeta\left(z\right)}See Xi Function in Mathworld.
OmicronΟοblank space
PiΠππ is constant defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. Its value is approximately 3.14159.
RhoΡρblank space
SigmaΣσΣ is an operator used to indicate repeated addition. See also Sigma on MathWorld.
TauΤτSee Tau in Mathworld.
UpsilonΥυblank space
PhiΦφGolden section
ChiΧχSee Chi in Mathworld.
PsiΨψblank space
OmegaΩωSee Omega Constant in Mathworld.


  1. greek alphabet. Encyclopedia Britannica. (Accessed: 2010-02-08). alphabet.
  2. Auden, H. W. and Taylor, Allan E. A Minimum of Greek, pp 2-3. Morang & Co., Limited, 1906. (Accessed: 2010-02-08).
  3. Timothy M. Hagle. Basic Math for Social Scientists: Concepts, pg vii. Sage Publications, Inc, June 29, 1995.
  4. Greek letters used in mathematics, science, and engineering. Wikipedia Encyclopedia. (Accessed: 2010-02-08).,_science,_and_engineering.
  5. Sophocles, E. A.. History of the Greek Alphabet. B. B. Mussey and Company, 1848. (Accessed: 2010-02-08).

Cite this article as:

Greek Alphabet. 2010-02-08. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.


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Revision History

2010-02-08: Added "References" (McAdams, David.)
2008-12-15: Added more entries into the list (McAdams, David.)
2008-11-25: Corrected appearance of lower case alpha (McAdams, David.)
2008-06-07: Corrected spelling (McAdams, David.)
2008-02-18: Corrected grammatical errors (McAdams, David.)
2007-09-04: Initial version (McAdams, David.)

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