Friday, February 12, 2010

Ampersand vs. Asperand

Ampersand: The sign: & This figure for the word “and” came to be created over time. It is a ligature (a binding of two or more letters into one) of the “e” and “t” in the latin word “et” (“and”).

Asperand: One of the many names for the figure @. More often, it’s called the “at sign.” Again it’s a ligature, created originally by accountants, from the first letters of the words “at” and “each” (the circle over the “a” stands for the “e” in “each”). There is some controversy over the origin of this sign, and the word “asperand” is so rare that you won’t find it in many dictionaries.

Some people say “asperand” when they mean &, and some people say “ampersand” when they mean @.


Ankhorite said...

Many thanks! I backlink and quote you.

Would you like to be cited as something other than "Dr. R" ?

John Bull GB said...

First recorded use of "@" was in "The Manasses Chronicle" (1345) where it was the first letter of the word "Amen" (@men). Why it was used in this context is still a mystery.

In the 16th Century it was used to represent an amphora (a storage jar used in Southern Europe).