Here’s a silly question. What’s the name of this @? I’ve heard “at symbol” but that can’t be the official name. So if # is a number sign and % is a percentage mark what is @??
“at symbol” or “commercial at”
I still think it’s funny that somebody somewhere decided we needed an abbreviation for a 2-letter word.
@ = ‘At symbol’ or ‘Commercial at’
= ‘Hash’, ‘Number sign’ or ‘Pound sign’ (the last one is never used in the UK, as ‘Pound sign’ is the name of our currency symbol.
Slightly of topic but the # symbol originated in cartography to indicate a village. The little squares represent plots of land.
I can’t find a cite for this so it may be BS!
You’re thinking of one of the stories behind the name ‘octothorpe’ (‘thorpe’ being an old English word for village). Another explanation is that the symbol was named after Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe.
My favorite wordsmith, the late Willard Espy, addressed the issue of what to call #; I won’t reproduce his clever poem here, but will list #'s many names:
number (#2 pencil)
pounds (10# bag)
space (editing symbol: insert #)
sharp (music: F#)
octothorp (note alternate spelling; Espy says this is the name when it’s on a phone, but I would accept this as the overall correct name of the symbol, and Merriam-Webster agrees)
non-add (business; never ran across this one personally – can anyone enlighten?)
fracture (as in medicine: doctors?)
I have heard (though I can’t remember where) that it’s called an “ampersat.” Like ampersand but it’s with an at.
I always referred to the “@” as “commercial at” and read it as “at” when speaking it in, say, an E-mail address. In India, they read it as “at the rate of.” I always find it slightly amusing when an Indian tells me his or her E-mail address as “george at the rate of mailservice dot com.”
Indeed, the & is a ligature of Et, which is Latin for and. It is called the ampersand because of this:
And *per se* and' means "And’ which means `and’" in (what else?) Latin. After a couple centuries of trying to say that whole mess every time one named the ligature (which was considered more or less a fully-fledged letter at one time), people naturally shortened it to ampersand.
It still does just simply mean “et.” Or else it wouldn’t make sense in the names of so many commercial entities.
In a column of figures to be added up, the non-add figure signifies that that particular number should not be included in the summary of the numbers. For example, you might enter the ID number of the store or the cash register at the top of the tape, but you don’t want that added to the sales total for that register or store.
The # indicates that it is neither added to nor subtrcted from the rest of the numbers. (Why it acquired the name “non add” instead of simply number sign (as in “cash register number”) you would have to take up with a historian of accounting.)
Other attempts to identify the name of the @ have included:
Several of which have external links to other discussions of language sources.
@ is called acroll, & is called ampersand
I have heard appersat.
By whom? In what language?
I have never encounterd that word and I cannot find it in any of several English dictionaries. Potential variations such as “ascroll” and “atscroll” and “at scroll” also turned up nothing.
The @ symbol also goes by the name Klammeraffe among German-speaking people.
I heard it’s called an ‘at’ sign but no dictionary I looked at has reference to it under ‘at’.
Did it ever originally mean “around”?
@…an “a” with a circle around it.
It’s called masterspace.
In Diku MUDS (message boards) it was used for a line break. So on message boards it wound up getting replaced with <at> (i.e. me<at>my.house). It took me years before I wrote out my email address with an @.