this entry is about the notion of colimits in posets. For the concepts of join of topological spaces, join of simplicial sets, join of categories and join of quasi-categories see there.


Limits and colimits

(0,1)(0,1)-Category theory



If xx and yy are elements of a poset, then their join, or supremum, is an element xyx \vee y of the poset such that:

  • xxyx \leq x \vee y and yxyy \leq x \vee y;
  • if xax \leq a and yay \leq a, then xyax \vee y \leq a. Such a join may not exist; if it does, then it is unique.

In a proset, a join may be defined similarly, but it need not be unique. (However, it is still unique up the natural equivalence in the proset.)

The above definition is for the join of two elements of a poset, but it can easily be generalised to any number of elements. It may be more common to use ‘join’ for a join of finitely many elements and ‘supremum’ for a join of (possibly) infinitely many elements, but they are the same concept. The join may also be called the maximum if it equals one of the original elements.

A poset that has all finite joins is a join-semilattice. A poset that has all suprema is a suplattice.

A join of subsets or subobjects is called a union.

Special cases

A join of zero elements is a bottom element. Any element aa is a join of that one element.


As a poset is a special kind of category, a join is simply a coproduct in that category.

Last revised on November 20, 2015 at 12:11:33. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.