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How does one insert a backslash or a tilde into LaTeX?

I have tried using \text{\~{}} to draw a tilde in math mode. However, this only produces a superscript tilde.

I have looked around at many pages such as this one: http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Wiki/index.php/LaTeX:Symbols

and surprisingly, I can't find where to draw a tilde in math mode (not under or above a character - just a single tilde character). If I just use ~, then nothing appears.


2 Answers 2


$\backsim\ \sim\ \thicksim$

Image showing possible tildes in LaTeX

  • 5
    What does "sim" stands for? This is a short for what?
    – rph
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 13:25
  • 11
    I believe "sim" is short for similar. This symbol is often used to relate similar things, such as in linear algebra where ~ means two matrices are row-equivalent (which is a similarity between those matrices). Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 4:19
  • @definecindyconst Do you know if the \backsim has a seperate meaning, or if it's just artistic choice? Commented May 3, 2021 at 11:38
  • @ThorbjørnE.K.Christensen First I just want to clarify that my previous comment is just an educated guess -- I don't have any particular knowledge as to why Latex commands are named as they are. However, many different areas of maths use a tilde to denote that two things are "similar" where "similar" tends to mean different things in different areas. I have never personally seen anyone use a mirrored tilde specifically in mathematics, and if I saw it in literature without further explanation I would assume it to have the same meaning as a regular tilde given how similar they look. Commented May 22, 2021 at 8:52
  • @definecindyconst Yeah, my guess would be the same, I was just curious, I've also never seen the \backsim symbol used, and my search engine efforts to learn its possible meaning have sadly been fruitless. for now I'll assume that it is a purely artistic choice. Hopefully that won't end up biting me 8-) Commented May 31, 2021 at 9:36

Is \sim an option for you? It looks like a tilde.

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