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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The hashtag's real typographic name? 'Octothorpe.'

The word "hashtag" is a neologism for the # symbol, sometimes called the pound symbol in American English (but separate from the British Pound symbol, £ ). More properly called an octothorpe, the # is anything but new; and actually dates to the Roman Empire.

The "@" symbol, now commonly called "at," was originally used to take the place of any word beginning with "a."

 The little pointing-hand symbol, used in some typographic lists, is properly called a manicule, and is sometimes referred to as an index or fist.

If this kind of lexico- and typographic trivia interests you, you'll enjoy the "Shady Character" blog.