17 September 2011

@ at 'Did You Know' !

     @ is one of the most common symbols used nowadays. @ became so popular after the invention of e-mail. But how many of us know the standard name of that symbol? Alas! I was sad to know that @ symbol has no standard name! You may be calling it as 'at symbol' (so do I). But there are dozens of other names for @ that reflects similes for the symbol.  Examples are apestaart (Dutch for "monkey's tail"), snabel (Danish for "elephant's trunk"), kissanhnta (Finnish for "cat's tail"), klammeraffe (German for "hanging monkey") etc.
     Before it became a standard symbol in e-mail addresses, @ was used as 'at the rate' for referring to cost or weight of things (e.g. Books @ $5 each). It seems the actual origin of the symbol is still unknown. Some evidences show that before printing presses were invented people who made copies of books used '@' as a short form of 'at'. Another story tells that @ was used as an abbreviation of 'amphora', an old unit of measurement. Anyway solid records are there to show that the symbol @ was used even in 14th century.

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