Name the mystery symbol character

Draw an X. Now erase the center and draw a circle there. You should have a circle with four lines coming out of it resembling a sun or a ufo. Is there a name for this symbol and what is it used for?

You mean a currency sign?

Wikipedia entry


Looks like a teraplegic octopus. Or spider.

It’s a Darwin Egg.

Use to look things like this up:

Currency symbol, as noted. I’ve never used it to indicate hexadecimal though. My subculture uses “0X” (or the & and % escapes in HTML and URLs if I must). The wiki article on hexadecimal representations doesn’t seem to mention it:


I do remember some of those other conventions from a distant past.

BTW, I also let’s remark about “ASCII” pass. It certainly isn’t in the ASCII set most of us are familiar with. It appears in a couple odd variants in place of the dollar sign.

Yes, that’s the one, thanks. Anyone else got a mystery symbol they’ve been wondering about?

I’m very surprised to see that mark used as a generic currency mark. I’m familiar with it from Microsoft Word, where it appears in each cell of a table (if “Show Paragraph Marks” is turned on).

A very similar looking symbol is used in airline legacy data systems. In that context it’s called the “change” symbol.

The airline industry was a very early adopter of large-scale mainframe automation and networking back in the early 60s. Along the way they created a lot of dedicated special purpose symbols & weirdball keyboards & screens. “Change” is one of the few which survive to the present day.

The symbol’s meaning is “change” as in “modify”, not as in “smaller cash returned to the payer in a cash transaction”.

True that it’s not in ASCII.

It was included in the ISO-Latin-x family of character sets, Latin-1 in particular, and therefore Windows-1252. Hence its general availability on computers using Western European languages. It was also included in MacRoman, the default character set of the classic Macintosh. (At least until it was replaced by the Euro sign.)

All of which is a bit mysterious to me, because who the hell ever used it?