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Usually, many TeX commands are abbreviations of some English words. For instance, \hline stands for horizontal line, \frac stands for fraction, \neq stands for not equal, etc.

What do the commands for matrix brackets (\vmatrix, \pmatrix, \bmatrix) stand for? I guess pre-letter v means vertical (for determinants), but I have no idea about the other two.

I'm eager to know the longhands since this helps me work more naturally and faster.

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    I guess p stands for parenthesis and b for bracket – Vincent Nov 29 '20 at 17:25
  • @Vincent yes (you could make that an answer) – David Carlisle Nov 29 '20 at 17:35
  • b stands for "boring" and p for "pretty". ;-) – user229669 Nov 29 '20 at 18:13
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  • In pmatrix, p stands for parenthesis: the delimiters used are ( and ).
  • In bmatrix, b stands for bracket: the delimiters used are [ and ], which are generally called square brackets.
  • In Bmatrix, B stands for brace or bracket: the delimiters used are { and }, which are called braces, curly brackets or curly braces.
  • In vmatrix and Vmatrix, v and V both stand for vertical: the delimiters used are single and double vertical lines respectively. As @Teepeemm pointed out, recall that amsmath also has \vert and \Vert commands, which similarly produce single and double vertical lines respectively.
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