What do you call the `/~ key on your keyboard

On your typical QWERTY American English keyboard, the upper left of the “main part” (meaning that big block with all the letters and numbers, not the row with the escape and function keys) of the keyboard usually has a key that produces the ` character, or the ~ character with “shift.”

What do you call this key? I usually call it the “grave” key ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grave using the second pronunciation, grahv ). I tend to get really puzzled, funny looks, then I try the other pronunciation “grave”, more puzzled looks, then “backquote.” At that point about an eighth of people understand, if that doesn’t work “tilde” or “wavy dash” usually does the trick, and if not, then “squiggly” pretty much always does.

So what do you call the key? Poll forthcoming.

I always call it the tilde key, which on the face of it, is quite odd. There’s no other key on the board that I refer to by its shifted name. I even refer to the key to the left of the right shift as the slash key, despite using the question mark vastly, vastly more often than the slash.

My husband, who reads over my shoulder, said “Oh, the eyebrow key!”

I sometimes call it the “approximately symbol,” and do a little wavy hand motion to illustrate it.

Tilde. But I almost never talk about physical buttons; instead I name keys by the intended keystroke. Thus, I might ask someone to hit either tilde or backtick (which you don’t have as an option).

I call it a tilde. If I hadn’t ever taken a Spanish class I really don’t know what I’d call it. Now, as for the other part of the key, the character. I really don't know what to make of that. It's not a backwards apostrophe. See ' it’s at the wrong angle.

ETA I guess and apostrophe is straight up and down, so ignore the angle thing. It’s more like an inbred comma.

I’d call it “grave” if there was a way to put it over a letter. I’m not sure I’ve ever used it for anything other than the tilde, so that’s that I call the key.

“Tilde” here as well. I was a bit surprised that, at the moment, the voting is 11-for-11 for “tilde.”

Tilde. I would have absolutely no clue if someone said something about a grave key or a back anything. Someone saying the “approximately symbol,” on the other hand, I would understand from high school science classes.

I was going to quote a bunch of you, but it would’ve ended up quoting pretty much everyone so screw it.

I can’t believe I forgot “backtick” and “tick.”

As for “backquote”, I think it’s because in most LaTex interpreters, ` is the ligature for for the right quotation mark (whereas ’ is the ligature for left quote).

As for “grave”, if you’re on Mac, you can put it over a letter using some key combo or another, though I don’t think you can on Windows.

The reason I ask, is that is a common hotkey for opening a console in applications (usually games), and people always say "press the tilde key." I always found it confusing, because ~ is shift+, whereas ~ won’t open the console, only will. Thus, I always referred to it as grave to eliminate ambiguity because whenever somebody said "press the tilde key" I would think "press shift+" instead of the intended “press `”.

No such key on my keyboard. The Danish alphabet has 29 letters, each of them having its own key, so we have to bundle the characters differently, with more cases of having three different characters in one key.

I voted tilde, but would have said “home” key being a UNIX admin.

The ADM-3A terminal that was common in colleges in the 70s where UNIX was popular had the tilde as the non-shifted action on a key that was labeled “home” in the shifted position.

thus when Bill Joy was writing csh he made tilde an alias for ones home directory.

The original IBM PC keyboards did not not have a tilde key, ESC was in that place until the AT’s 84 key keyboard was released.

I pronounce it as GRAH-vay. Not to be confused with gravy. Or sometimes the TIL-duh key.

When do you have to refer to the key (as opposed to the character)? I don’t think I’ve ever had to call the key anything.

I’ve never had occasion to call the key anything at all. I’ve typed a tilde occasionally, but the key has never come up in conversation at all.

Back in the days I was programming in Forth, I called it the “tick”, but now that I use only tex, I call it the “backquote” or “left quote”. But I don’t usually have any occasion to call it anything.

According to the official INTERCAL[sup]*[/sup] character set, they are ‘backspark’ and ‘sqiggle’.
An acronym which stands for “Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym”.

What we call the key isn’t really the question we should be asking. The question is:

What do you use it for?
(If you don’t use if for Unix), when do you use it, except for texting?

In Matlab, it’s the NOT symbol (like the ! is in C/C++), so I use it a lot. I also use it in Unix, as you mentioned. I don’t think I ever use the ` symbol.

I would use ~ for approximately more often if it were bigger. In a lot of fonts, it looks too much like a - .

‘squiggle’, and it’s on the same key as the octothorpe [#]

In names like Niño Ricardo or La Niña de los Peines.