# Decimal separator

A decimal separator is a symbol used to separate the integer part from the fractional part of a number written in decimal form (e.g., "." in 12.45). Different countries officially designate different symbols for use as the separator. The choice of symbol also affects the choice of symbol for the thousands separator used in digit grouping.

Any such symbol can be called a decimal mark, decimal marker, or decimal sign. Symbol-specific names are also used; decimal point and decimal comma refer to an (either baseline or middle) dot and comma respectively, when it is used as a decimal separator; these are the usual terms used in English,[1][2][3] with the aforementioned generic terms reserved for abstract usage.[4][5]

In many contexts, when a number is spoken, the function of the separator is assumed by the spoken name of the symbol: comma or point in most cases.[6][2][7] In some specialized contexts, the word decimal is instead used for this purpose (such as in International Civil Aviation Organization-regulated air traffic control communications). In mathematics, the decimal separator is a type of radix point, a term that also applies to number systems with bases other than ten.