Often in physics, the symbol \sim is used as a unary operator to mean "approximately."

For example, one might say "the energy of these processes is $\sim 4$ eV." However, this looks awkward because \sim is a binary operator and the spacing is incorrect. How can one use \sim act as a unary operator?


1 Answer 1


Just define a new command for it:


I suggest also to use siunitx, if you have units of measure to typeset in your document: it ensures uniform setting.



\SI{\ca 4}{eV}

$\ca 4$\,eV

The input might seem more difficult, but it's surely rewarding.

enter image description here

If you load amssymb you can change the definition to


and the result would be

enter image description here

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