DEFINITION of 'Venn Diagram'

A Venn diagram is an illustration that utilizes circles, either overlapping or non-overlapping, to depict a relationship between finite groups of things. This diagram was named after John Venn, an English philosopher and logician, in 1880.

Venn Diagram for Investopedia Feb Term.j

The basic structure of the Venn diagram is typically overlapping circles, with items in the overlapping section bearing a commonality. Items residing in the outer portions of the circles do not share specified common traits.

BREAKING DOWN 'Venn Diagram'

Venn diagrams have long been recognized for their usefulness on an educational level. Since the mid-20th century, these diagrams have been used as part of the introductory logic curriculum and in elementary-level educational plans around the world.

The History of the Venn Diagram

The English logician John Venn invented the diagram in 1880; however Venn originally called the illustration Eulerian circles. American academic philosopher, and the eventual founder of conceptual pragmatism, Clarence Lewis referred to the circular depiction as the Venn diagram in his book "A Survey of Symbolic Logic" in 1918.

Venn studied and taught logic and probability theory at Cambridge University. This is where Venn developed his method of utilizing diagrams to illustrate set theory. Venn published a prolific, precedent-setting work "The Logic of Chance," a book that put forth the frequency theory of probability. Venn touted that probability should be established based on the regularity that something is predicted to occur, contrary to popular educated assumptions. Venn also developed and more fully realized mathematician George Boole’s theories in his book "Symbolic Logic" in 1881. This book was also the work in which Venn highlighted what would eventually become the Venn diagram.

More About Venn Diagrams

While Venn diagrams are, at a basic level, simple pictorial representations of the relationship that exists between two sets of ‘things’, they are much more complex in both their orientation and their applications. Still, the streamlined purpose of the Venn diagram has led to their popularized use to illustrate concepts and groups and are considered trademark tools for the teaching of beginner-level logic and math.

An Example

Consider drawing a Venn diagram to consider four-legged animals and domesticated animals. Obviously, there are a vast number of animals with four legs. But how many of such animals have been domesticated? Dogs and cats would be two examples of four-legged creatures that would fall in the overlapping space of the two circles. A tiger, however, would reside only in the circle representing four-legged animals. A chicken would be an example of a domesticated animal that does not have four legs and thus would exist only in the circle representing domesticated animals.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Ishikawa Diagram

    A diagram that shows the causes of an event and is often used ...
  2. Tree Diagram

    A diagram used in strategic decision making, valuation or probability ...
  3. Animal Mortality Insurance

    Financial protection for businesses in which animals play a valuable ...
  4. Animal Spirits

    A term used by John Maynard Keynes used in one of his economics ...
  5. Organizational Chart

    A diagram that outlines the internal structure of a company. ...
  6. Decision Analysis - DA

    A systematic, quantitative and visual approach to addressing ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Prices Plunging? Buy A Put!

    You can make money on a falling stock. Find out how going long on a put can lead to profits.
  2. Investing

    NYIF Instructor Series: Synthetic Stock

    In this short instructional video Anton Theunissen explains how to replicate a levered stock using a combination of options.
  3. Investing

    Pixar Vs. Everyone Else: Who Is the Next Animation Star? (DIS, CMCSA)

    Find out who is quickly closing in on Disney and Pixar for the animated movie crown. What companies offer investors an opportunity in the crowded market.
  4. Investing

    Whole Foods Taking Slow Growth Path With Chickens

    The commitment toward better animal husbandry continues to grow with Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) announcement that it will only source chickens from farmers who raise slow-growth birds. ...
  5. Trading

    NYIF Instructor Series: Married Put

    In this short instructional video Anton Theunissen explains what a married put is and how it works.
  6. Financial Advisor

    Barclays is 1st Bank Using Blockchain for Intl Tranfers

    Barclays became the first bank to use blockchain, bitcoin's underlying technology, when it announced a partnership with Circle, a Boston-based startup, that enables its users to convert dollars ...
  7. Trading

    How To Set A Forex Trading Schedule

    Just because the forex market trades 24 hours a day doesn't mean you have to.
  8. Investing

    Animated Films Boost Summer Box Office Receipts (DIS)

    Animated movies are accounting for the growth in domestic box office sales this summer.
  9. Financial Advisor

    How New Rules Impact Indexed Universal Life Sales

    Indexed universal life insurance is growing in popularity. Here's how recently enacted new rules will effect the sale of these policies.
  10. Investing

    What's the J-Curve Effect?

    A J-curve effect appears on a chart or diagram when the curve falls at the outset and then eventually rises to a higher point than where it started.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are stocks real assets?

    Learn why stocks are classified as financial assets, not real assets. Understand the properties that determine whether an ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does the Circular Flow Of Income model work?

    Learn about the circular flow of income model used by economists to represent the continuous, interdependent nature of money ... Read Answer >>
  3. What careers are popular among CFA charterholders?

    CFA Institute indicates on its website that CFA charterholders represent all investment professional careers within all types ... Read Answer >>
  4. A diagram of yields on debt instruments shows that short-term interest rates are ...

    The correct answer is a. An inverted—or negative—yield curve is an unusual situation that generally indicates an unhealthy ... Read Answer >>
  5. How do you determine the Critical Path in operations management?

    Find out how to develop and use the critical path in a standard critical path analysis, a popular operations management technique ... Read Answer >>
  6. What is the best way to measure the total market?

    There is a variety of market indices which function as statistical gauges of the market's activities. Many investors look ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Graduate Record Examination - GRE

    A standardized exam used to measure one's aptitude for abstract thinking in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics ...
  2. Graduate Management Admission Test - GMAT

    A standardized test intended to measure a test taker's aptitude in mathematics and the English language. The GMAT is most ...
  3. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
  4. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  5. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  6. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
Trading Center