Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Thu Jun 29 16:08:35 UTC 2000

"Steve K." <stevek at SHORE.NET> writes:

On Wed, 28 Jun 2000, Thomas Paikeday wrote:

> I believe "the at symbol" would be the enduring name for it.
> I am reminded of "the number sign" [#] which at
> one time was called "the octothorpe,"
> by Ma Bell I think, but it apparently didn't take.

My first phonetics teacher (and the person responsible for
getting me into lexicography), Richard Spears, always referred
to the # as an octothorpe in phonetics class. I don't know
if that was idiosyncratic, but I've always associated the use
of # in phonetics with the term octothorpe.

I have read that the name was given by a telephone company (Bell, at the time)
engineer who needed a name for the damn thing as a glyph -- a character, apart
from any significance that might be attached to it -- and combined "octo-" for
the number of "arms" it has with "Thorpe", his own surname. But I can't give a

-- Mark A. Mandel

More information about the Ads-l mailing list