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 . . .


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