Thursday’s Fascinating Fact

The Origins of Some Very Familiar Symbols

! - To most of us this is a regular exclamation point. To the Roman Empire the symbol was meant to resemble a pen over a dot denoting the surprise or joy at a writer having completed an arduous writing assignment.

@ – the “at” sign, an abbreviation used in accounting, possibly derived from the Norman French รก, meaning “at”.

* – the asterik, derived from the Latin word “astrum” meaning star. Back in feudal times this symbol was created by the printers of family trees when a symbol was needed to show the date of birth on a family tree. Note how the asterik somewhat resembles the branches of a tree.

? – thought to originate from the Latin word “quaestio” meaning question, the symbol of this word was an uppercase Q above a lowercase o. Interesting fact: in Hollywood there is a superstition that shows with titles containing a question mark do not do well.

; – the semicolon, was created by an Italian printer for 2 purposes; to act as a “super comma” in sentences that contained too many commas, and to bind two run-on in meaning sentences. A famous quote about semicolons: ” Do not use semicolons. All they do is show you’ve been to college” ~ Kurt Vonnegut


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