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I need one (or maybe two) LaTeX symbols that I don't find in the comprehensive list of symbols. The symbol is like the normal plus-minus sign \pm, but with parenthesis around the minus sign. Is such a symbol available somewhere? And if not, what is the best way to construct it from (, \pm and )?

Preferably I would also want the opposite: \mp with parenthesis around the plus.

Any ideas?

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please provide a citation to where these symbols can be found in published material, and also say what they are used for and provide a meaningful name. they are not in unicode. send this information also to tech-support@ams.org; i am the representative of the stix project to unicode, and if suitable documentation is provided, i will communicate uncoded symbols to them for consideration. –  barbara beeton May 6 '11 at 12:34
    
@barbara: I actually asked because a friend asked me about it, so I'm not sure of the context in which is was needed. I'll check if he has any references. I think I've seen such a symbol in basic math or physics textbooks, eg, to indicate that a quadratic equation has two roots of different signs, but only the positive root is of (say physical) interest. –  Olof May 6 '11 at 13:32
    
I did a web search for this symbol and found this discussion. This kind of a symbol is very useful when neglecting, say, negative (or positive) solutions to quadratic equations because of known constraints. I use it often in my teaching. How extensive would the list of pointers to literature have to be in order for the symbol to be considered to be added? –  user11079 Jan 23 '12 at 14:17
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1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I once proposed the following definitions

\newcommand\varpm{\mathbin{\vcenter{\hbox{%
  \oalign{\hfil$\scriptstyle+$\hfil\cr
          \noalign{\kern-.3ex}
          $\scriptscriptstyle({-})$\cr}%
}}}}
\newcommand\varmp{\mathbin{\vcenter{\hbox{%
  \oalign{$\scriptstyle({+})$\cr
          \noalign{\kern-.3ex}
          \hfil$\scriptscriptstyle-$\hfil\cr}%
}}}}
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