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I am new to database learning and came across this \ symbol. I googled but couldn't find what it meant.

It was used in the context Q = R\S, where Q, R, and S are relations.

(The = sign here means "is equivalent to").

closed as unclear what you're asking by Max Vernon, James Anderson, Tom V, billinkc, Andriy M May 3 '16 at 11:47

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5

The \ symbol is often used in mathematics for set difference, besides dash or minus symbol (-)

Since tables and relations are very similar to sets and the operations of union, intersection and difference are similarly defined (see Wikipedia: Relational algebra, set operators), the \ symbol is also sometimes used for difference.

If the Q = R\S expression is found in a database theory book and Q, R and S are relations, it means that Q is a relation (table) that has the same attributes (columns) as R and S and also has those tuples (rows) that are in relation R but not in relation S.

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