Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at M-W.COM
Thu Jun 29 19:06:07 UTC 2000

I've noticed that "number sign" is what you hear in voicemail instructions
("press . . . followed by the number sign")  in Canada -- but I don't know
if that is true across the country.  Which makes more sense to me too than
"pound sign", since it is much more commonly used as a number sign.  In
fact, its use as a sign for pound (meaning weight, not pound Sterling) must
be pretty well obsolete -- at least I can't recall seeing it, except in a
historical context.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of A. Vine
> Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2000 2:10 PM
> Subject: Re: octothorpe
> Yes.  I do.  And FWIW, the International Organization for
> Standardization (ISO)
> calls it NUMBER SIGN.  Alternate names are: pound sign, hash, crosshatch,
> octothorpe.  ISO calls @ "COMMERCIAL AT" with no alternate names.
> "Peter A. McGraw" wrote:
> >
> > Didn't anybody but me ever call it the "number sign" (as in #1, #5, #57,
> > etc.)?

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