I'm sure someone has asked this before, but can't find where!

I use the code:

$ a < b \lesssim c$

Unfortunately, it appears as:

Undersirable alignment

I want the "approximately less than sign" to be a bit lower. How can I do this?

2 Answers 2


You can lower the symbol by the excess height with respect to <. But you shouldn't.






$A<B\lesssim C\gtrsim D$

$\scriptstyle A<B\lesssim C\gtrsim D$


enter image description here

  • 1
    why did you write, "I shouldn't"?
    – slew123
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    @slew123 There's a reason why the symbol is raised: the line spacing is likely to be modified when such deep symbols appear.
    – egreg
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:03
  • Is it better then to use "\begin{equation}" and "\end{equation}" rather than put this inside the text?
    – slew123
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 16:21
  • @slew123 You'll have problems in multiline alignments anyway.
    – egreg
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 16:25

You can use \vtop with \halign inside it:

\def\varstyle#1{\mathchoice{\mstylenum=0 #1}{\mstylenum=1 #1}{\mstylenum=2 #1}{\mstylenum=3 #1}}
\def\usestyle{\ifcase\mstylenum \displaystyle\or\textstyle\or\scriptstyle\or\scriptscriptstyle\fi}

\def\lessim{\gensim<}  \def\grtsim{\gensim>}

$a < b \lessim c \grtsim d, \scriptstyle a < b \lessim c$


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