Division is the inverse, or opposite, operation of multiplication. It "undoes" multiplication. There are a number of different ways to denote division; below are the most common. All of the notations below read as "a divided by b."

6 × 4 = 24, so 24 ÷ 4 = 6.
This example demonstrates how division is the inverse operation of multiplication. In the example 24 ÷ 4 = 6,
24 is the dividend.
4 is the divisor.
6 is the quotient.
Written with symbols:
Where c is the dividend, b is the divisor, and a is the quotient:
c ÷ b = a because a × b = c.

Division by zero

Note that the divisor b cannot be zero because there is no number a that will multiply b to equal c when c ≠ 0.


Division cannot always be done exactly. In cases where there is a number left over, this number is called the remainder.


If Dillon has 9 pieces of candy and 3 friends, for a total of 4 people, how many extra pieces of candy will he have left if he shares the candy evenly?

9 / 4 = 2 R1

where the "R1" represents a remainder of 1. Dillon will therefore have 1 extra piece of candy if each person, including himself, gets 2.

In cases where the values being divided are more difficult to work with or an exact value including decimals is desired, long division can be used to determine the quotient.

Related words divide, dividend, divisible, divisive.

See also dividend, divisor, quotient.