Sometimes those shift + numeral symbols come in handy . . . and not just for dulling the impact of an expletive.
Where on earth did they all come from? Well, today’s symbol is the ubiquitous @. Unlike, say, the $, or #, or *, the world would kinda grind to a halt if the trusty @ was obliterated all of a sudden. No more e-mails!
Origins? dunno. How Stuff Works gives awesome examples of the names people have given to the English ‘at’ symbol. Check it –
- apestaart – Dutch for “monkey’s tail”
- snabel – Danish for “elephant’s trunk”
- kissanhnta – Finnish for “cat’s tail”
- klammeraffe – German for “hanging monkey”
- kukac – Hungarian for “worm”
- dalphaengi – Korean for “snail”
- grisehale – Norwegian for “pig’s tail”
- sobachka – Russian for “little dog”
And I have it on good authority that Quebecois refer to it as the “commercial A”, which I find terribly endearing . . .