How execute we currently use the # symbol?

On Twitter, Facebook, and also Instagram, you tag your friends via the
symbol and also you tag topics via the #. If you watch somepoint that says “#WordoftheDay,” the tweet or article has actually something to do via Word of the Day. And, once you click on that noted topic, you’ll most likely see all public posts around it. It’s a good tool for finding world who are talking around a particular topic (and for categorizing photos of your terrific pet). But, what execute we call the # symbol? And, where did it come from? Some of its names are widespread . . . some not so much.

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What is the # symbol called?

1: The pound authorize. This name came to be bereason the symbol comes from the abbreviation for weight, lb, or libra ponexecute, literally “pound by weight,” in Latin. When creating “lb,” scribes regularly crossed the letters through a line throughout the top, choose a t.


2: The number authorize. This phrase emerged in Britain because pound sign might easily be confused via the British currency. And of course, the # symbol is periodically spoken as the word “number,” as in “#2 pencil.”

3: The hashtag. The word hash predates these other names (however wasn’t exceptionally renowned till recently). A hash has actually referred to stripes on army jackets considering that as beforehand as 1910. But, in the 1980s, human being began using hash to refer to the # symbol. Due to the fact that the climb of social media and its new prestige in everyday life, hashtag has end up being the favored name.

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4: The octothorpe. It’s the official name for the # symbol, yet what does it mean? It’s actually a made-up word, created in the exact same laboratories where the telephone came from. The researchers at Bell Laboratories modified the telephone keypad in the at an early stage 1960s and added the # symbol to send instructions to the telephone operating system. Due to the fact that the # symbol didn’t have a name, the technicians believed one up. They kbrand-new it need to be referred to as octo- somepoint bereason it had eight ends around the edge. What taken place next is not totally clear. According to one report, Bell Lab employee Don MacPherchild called it after the Olympian Jim Thorpe. Another former employee claims it was a nonfeeling word, meant as a joke. Anvarious other unverifiable report is much more etymologically satisfying: The Old Norse word thorpe supposed “farm or field,” so octothorpe literally means “eight fields.”

How else has actually the # symbol been used?

Similar signs show up in many various other locations. Musicians recognize # as the sharp symbol, denoting a note one half step better. Copy editors watch a symbol meaning “space,” as in “add an area between two sentences.” In computer system code, the # symbol indicates that every little thing that complies with is just comment, not instruction.

Such a small symbol via such a vast amount of interpretation . . . what various other names will the future organize for the sturdy #?