How to make a different greater/less than symbol that is used in 17th century math

At the moment I’m writing my thesis and I want to use the symbol that the original author used. It is a form of greater/less than symbol, just a tad bit different. I’ve tried quite a few things already (defining my own symbol using Tikz, but it doesn’t seem to work). Do you have any idea how to make this? Thanks in advance!

• Please show what you tried in tikz. I'm sure we can help you to get things to work. Nov 27, 2023 at 10:05
• Off topic – I am curious about the author and book? That's interesting, in the same period G. W. Leibniz also used such signs for smaller and larger. Only his are rotated 90°, so that the longer "leg" is a descender. We typeset those (in LaTeX) all the time! Nov 27, 2023 at 18:03
• @marquinho the book is a (relatively free) translation of Euclids Elements, written by the Dutch author Pieter Warius! Looking into the history of those symbols is something for my to do list ;) it's just weird do read as Warius uses the symbols in "reverse". The symbol above is a greater than symbol, but the greatest factor is on the left (we flip it nowadays) :') Nov 28, 2023 at 11:05
• Yes, that certainly looks counterintuitive! I remember reading that Leibniz' rationale for his signs is the analogy with scales: his equality sign ⊓, \sqcap resembles balanced scales; if you draw a longer left "leg", the scales lean to the left, i.e., the left term "weighs" more. In other words, the longer (shorter) side signals the larger (shorter) quantity. Nov 28, 2023 at 14:06

It looks like U+2ACD so

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{unicode-math}
\setmainfont{STIX Two Text}
\setmathfont{STIX Two Math}

\begin{document}

$x ⫍ y$

\end{document}

• WOW! That’s exactly what I looked for! Thanks! Nov 27, 2023 at 10:56
• @N0ukz For future reference, there are a few tools that let you draw a shape and look for similar Unicode characters. I like to use shapecatcher.com eg. Nov 27, 2023 at 19:04
• \lsqhook and \rsqhook Nov 27, 2023 at 20:21
• @MiloP I had never heard of unicodes, so a whole new world opened for me! I'll look into your site next time, thanks got the tip! :) Nov 28, 2023 at 11:06
• Remember people, Unicode contains a bunch of Japanese ghost characters. These are characters mistakenly copied from typos in single documents and frozen into unicode forever. We have to be careful about this: at this rate we'll run out of unicode characters before the heat death of the universe, or shortly afterwards.
– Yakk
Nov 28, 2023 at 18:41

Before egreg answers this :-) ... picture mode! (Engine independent.)

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{pict2e}
\usepackage{amsmath}% for scalable line thickness

\makeatletter
\newcommand*{\vargtr}{\mathrel{\mathpalette\var@gtr@less{(1,0)(0,0)(0,1)(2,1)}}}
\newcommand*{\varless}{\mathrel{\mathpalette\var@gtr@less{(0,0)(2,0)(2,1)(1,1)}}}
\newcommand*{\var@gtr@less}[2]{%
\setbox\z@=\hbox{\m@th$#1x$}%
\unitlength=\ht\z@
\begin{picture}(2,1)
\linethickness{%
\fontdimen8
\ifx#1\displaystyle\textfont\else
\ifx#1\textstyle\textfont\else
\ifx#1\scriptstyle\scriptfont\else
\scriptscriptfont\fi\fi\fi 3\relax}%
\roundcap\roundjoin
\polyline#2%
\end{picture}%
}
\makeatother

\begin{document}

$x \vargtr y \varless z$
$\scriptstyle x \vargtr y \varless z$
$\scriptscriptstyle x \vargtr y \varless z$

\end{document}


If you prefer the symbols to have exactly the same width as > and < then replace

\setbox\z@=\hbox{\m@th$#1x$}%
\unitlength=\ht\z@


by

\setbox\z@=\hbox{\m@th$#1>$}%
\unitlength=.5\wd\z@

• Good job! I think I know about the \fontdimen8 code. 😉 Nov 27, 2023 at 20:22