An by complex or real matrix is said to be anti-Hermitian, skew-Hermitian, or said to represent a skew-adjoint operator, or to be a skew-adjoint matrix, on the complex or real dimensional space , if its adjoint is the negative of itself: :.
Note that the adjoint of an operator depends on the scalar product considered on the dimensional complex or real space . If denotes the scalar product on , then saying is skew-adjoint means that for all one has
In the particular case of the canonical scalar products on , the matrix of a skew-adjoint operator satisfies for all .
Imaginary numbers can be thought of as skew-adjoint (since they are like 1-by-1 matrices), whereas real numbers correspond to self-adjoint operators.