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Folk Etymology[edit]

I recognize the - possibly ironic - awkwardness of suggesting a clarification to a misrepresentation of a folk etymology on wikipedia (the greatest source of misinformation the world has ever known). But I think dismissing the most accurate misinformation would improve the article.

That is, for example, an article saying that there is no basis to the folk legend that George Washington confessed to chopping down his father's peach tree should probably be changed to the more accurate misinformation regarding a cherry tree.

In that regard, I am suggesting changing the article's refutation of the symbol having been 'popularised by a certain Mr. Amper' to some succinct version of the 'real' folk etymology, which is that Andre-Marie Ampere used it as an abbreviation in his influential publications, eventually becoming known as 'an Ampere's and' (including a link to the wikipedia entry on either the ampere or Monsieur Ampere himself).

I'll wait a few more days to see if anyone has any comments before changing it

— Preceding unsigned comment added by BloodIron (talkcontribs) 01:26, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

27th letter[edit]

> Historically, & was regarded as the 27th letter of the Latin alphabet (See Z).

Um, wasn't there *less* than 26 letters, historically? Could someone expand on this, please? (seeing that this is the article for ampersand)

Perhaps change it to "English alphabet," since this is what it mainly is talking about? (See Z)

I'm a bit unconvinced by the quote used to support this claim. It seems to merely say that & would serve as well as z as the last letter but this does not necessarily imply that & was in fact the last letter (or even considered a letter at all). If indeed & was commonly considered the last letter of the English alphabet then surely a better cite must exist for this usage? Lisiate 22:34, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Here's the quote so you can see what I mean:

"George Eliot refers to this when she has Jacob Storey say, "He thought it (Z) had only been put to finish off th' alphabet like; though ampusand would ha' done as well, for what he could see."" Lisiate 22:35, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The claim that it was considered the 27th letter is rather thin and should be questioned. Yes, the Dixie Primer's page shown in the article does include '&'. This 'proof', however, is rather misleading as that same book's pictorial alphabet and its charts showing the Roman and Italic characters of the English alphabet do not include '&'. By following this article's own link to the Dixie Reader, one can easily see the selective use of this 'evidence'.

Similarly, the McGuffy Readers include the '&' only in the Eclectic Primer, and even then only lists it among the capital letters. In this volume, there is no accompanying discussion or description of the alphabet. On the other hand, the next two volumes - the Pictorial Eclectic Primer and the Eclectic Spelling Book - do not include the '&' in any of the charts or discussions of the alphabet. The Eclectic Progressive Spelling Book specifically states that "There are 26 letters in the English language, namely: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Z. These letters taken together are called the English Alphabet." In fact, except for the non-annotated appearance in the Eclectic Primer, the character '&' does not appear as part of the alphabet anywhere else in the series.

Given that the McGuffy Readers were by far the most widely used textbooks of the era, it seems unsupportable to claim: "Similarly, & was regarded as the 27th letter of the English alphabet, as used by children (in the US)[citation needed]". In fact, the lack of citation by itself calls this claim into question.

Clearly the general assertion that '&' was considered the 27th letter by children in the US cannot be substantiated given the sources included in this article, and other evidence would seem to clearly dispute, if not disprove, it. (talk) 04:47, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Marshallese Language[edit]

There was a section claiming that '&' represented a vowel in the Marshallese language, but the linked-to page had absolutely no mention of such a thing, and the original claim was marked as citation needed. I've removed it, put it back when there's evidence. Personman (talk) 05:43, 30 April 2008 (UTC) is a link mentioning the ampersand as a letter in the Marshallese alphabet.

Keyboard Layouts[edit]

"In keyboard layouts, it is often shift-7 or shift-8." I think this should be removed. "Often shift-7 and shift-8" gives no source. The scandinavian QWERTY-layout uses shift-6 for example. Ran4 14:11, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (And vs. &)[edit]

Has anyone talked about when to use and and when to use & in Wikipedia?? 01:42, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think, in general, "and" should be used unless the ampersand is part of a work's proper name (for example, Dungeons & Dragons or Beyond Good & Evil (video game)). I've brought the question up at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style. -Sean Curtin 02:08, Dec 5, 2004 (UTC)
When I wrote the text for Typography I deliberately put in a few ampersands to test what other editors would do. Sure enough they were replaced with "and" :-) I knew that would happen. The style guide probably recommends "and" over ampersand. The point of reintroducing ampersands is to draw attention to their demise. Some prominent typographers have talked and written about it. Using ampersands is appropriate and fitting to Typography, if not all typography-related articles, and acceptable if you ignore all the rules to make a better encyclopedia.
Arbo talk 20:06, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I have found it useful to use the ampersand to aviod confusion in lists. I.e. "The public houses I frequent include The Bell, The Pig & The Whistle and The Horses". Without the ampersand "The Pig and The Whistle" could look like two places or "The Whistle and The Horses" could look like one place. NinjaKid 12:50, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
That's what the serial comma is for. - Bardbom (talk) 04:13, 25 July 2013 (UTC)


I've replaced the JPG image (ew) with one that is hopefully better, in Adobe Garamond Pro. The "italic" ampersand is a bit different from the old image, though, so I worry that this is incorrect. I can replace it with one in a different typeface if this is the case. neckro 07:31, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I wish you would use a different typeface. The "italic" ampersand is really not typical. -- Dominus 12:40, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)


>Although common in handwriting before typewriters came into widespread use, the ampersand has lost popularity in recent years, and it has become standard in most contexts to write out the word "and."

It is certainly more often used in logotypes than in flowing prose, but this seems to suggest that it is no longer used at all. If someone can think of a way to write this, I'd appreciate it. --Mdwyer 16:32, 2005 August 31 (UTC)

"Use of the ampersand & and": a discussion on Blogdorf about the use of the ampersand.

It might well be usefull to expand on when and where the use of & is tolerated in formal use such as academic works and essays --Empty hat


Are the handwriting ampersands mentioned in the article like these? HenryLi 14:39, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Picture 1
Picture 2
As I understand it, yes. Certainly both of these are handwritten ampersands I'm familiar with. 4pq1injbok 05:35, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Notations for logical "&"[edit]

This article used to say that

the ampersand became the most commonly used logical notation for the sentential connective AND

but I've weakened this to '...a commonly used logical notation...', since in my experience the wedge is commoner. Indeed, our logical conjunction article uses but not &. 4pq1injbok 05:31, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Marshallese letter[edit]

I believe to have read somewhere, that the Pacific Ocean language of Marshallese (am not sure which language family it belongs to, but am guessing Polynesian), the ampersand was used as a letter, a vowel to be exact, which should be 'somewhere between "a" and "e"'. Can anyone shed some light on this? Mulder1982 04:15, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I've seen mention of an IPA [æ] vowel in Marshallese. I think it's normally written as ä. Ampersand for that might have been a semi-nonce stand-in for that. N.B., linguists often use & to type "æ" when the keyboard/encoding has no provision for "æ". Sean M. Burke 01:04, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

And per se and as a letter[edit]

The English alphabet article suggests that & has been considered a letter after Z at least since the year 1011. This casts doubt on the nursery rhyme theory. Fishal 15:02, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I must admit (it was me who added the nursery rhyme theory) that I was surprised to read about the Brytferth character set, but the article does show that this is only now being properly annotated and researched by philologists. I seriously doubt that between Brytferth and the Victorian era it was in common knowledge that there were in the days of yore additional letters after Z. My suggestion would be that the unknown author of the rhyme possibly was aware of it, and therefore was all the more ready to include it. I cannot see the original of page 203 of the Brytferth work anywhere on line. If I get the chance to go to the Ashmolean anytime soon (I have family nearby) I would love to see it, but I don't believe it was established that it was called "ampersand" at that time. I think it is referred to in this article as "ond". Still it is more likely to have been the nursery rhyme, in my hypothesis - and it is of course hypothesis - which gave rise to the term "ampersand", even though ancient texts do show it as a letter after z. Uncle Davey (Talk) 09:33, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

OK. I'll also see if I can find any secondary sources dealing with this. Fishal 14:31, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

And several months later I still haven't even looked. In the meantime, Uncle Davey, I'm putting your contribution here, since as it stands now it's an unsourced hypothesis. Here it is:

The most likely reason why & was regarded as the 27th letter of the English alphabet is - and like many accounts about the history of punctuation this may be apocryphal - the traditional children's nursery rhyme for learning the alphabet with verbal past tenses (instead of the usual nouns as in "A is for apple, etc") called "A - apple pie." This traditional rhyme reads "A - apple pie. B bit it, C cut it, D dealt it, etc. Of course, when you get to the end of the alphabet it becomes rather difficult to finish, so the standard version said "X, Y, Z and per se and, each had a little piece in their hand". The & sign was added to round off the rhyme (not unlike the lines "Now I know my ABC, next time won't you sing with me?" in the most popular contemporary alphabet song) and the common slurring of the end of the rhyme when spoken quickly or when recited by unlearned people gave rise to the folk usage "ampersand."

Fishal 17:57, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Re: Slurring. It's a wonder we haven't invented the "elemeno." :) JimH443 10:13, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Computing problems[edit]

& is a real pain in the work I do as it cant be read by a computer except with a & this is mentioned briefly but not as a problem and thus the article seems to be lacking info on this very tricky symbol in the modern world of computing' try creating rss files and you'll see what I mean. I will think about how to integrate this more into the article. Does anyone else have the same experience, SqueakBox 19:33, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

My use[edit]

I use it to distinguish between different "ands".


Peter, Paul & Mary (and) The Mamas and the Papas are popular folk bands.

I use it the same way. I always use the ampersand to imply a tighter connection than the word "and"; "peas and carrots & tomatoes" means that carrots and tomatoes form a single item, while peas are separate. Does anybody else use ampersands this way? It's not a situation that comes up very often... - furrykef (Talk at me) 09:02, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe that in Eats, Shoots & Leaves the comma is recommended for these situations, such as "carrots and tomatoes, and peas." Fishal 18:05, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I, and others, use it in citations in the same way as you, Furrykef. That is, "statements by Sigfried & Roy, Copperfield, and Penn & Teller ...". It's clearer, neater and less repetitive than, "statements by Sigfried and Roy, Copperfield, and Penn and Teller ...". — DIV ( 06:10, 27 February 2007 (UTC))

Agree, me too. -- (talk) 14:19, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

And here's one in an oldish journal article: G. K. BATCHELOR; “Sedimentation in a dilute dispersion of spheres”; Journal of Fluid Mechanics; Cambridge; March 1972; 52 (2): pp. 245–268

"[...] to determine the hindered settling of a random distribution of spheres in a dilute dispersion (Burgers 1942; Pyun & Fixman 1964)."
"For a random distribution of spheres Burgers and Pyun & Fixman found that the average change in the fall speed is [...]."

—DIV ( (talk) 07:59, 8 August 2008 (UTC))

Hebrew crowns, Egyptian cobras, Augustine, Persian, Kabbalah, etc.[edit]

I removed the following material from the article:

Note however the Hebrew Keter (Crown) and Egyptian Ra and see the note in Sin / Shin on Egyptian royal divine solar Uraeus. Note the similarity of Shin to the Italic ampersand and note its role as representing Shaddai (a Hebrew name of God) which should not be spoken aloud. Hence the ampersand at the end of George Eliot's alphabet would have made no difference vocally but would have placed an ancient religious stamp of approval on the lesson slate. 12:44, 18 November 2006 (UTC) Ian Ison
Ampersand may read in German am and French Persan[d] meaning in Persian and appears to be a secret code in certain old coded texts that the text is to be read either literally in Persian or, more commonly, reading R to L. Note that when doing so, numbers do not change as the Arabic system is as our own. 12:44, 18 November 2006 (UTC) Ian Ison
The Scots term epershand may actually refer to the manuscript letter esh (š or sh cf the Hebrew shin above) from the Persian Pahlavi and Avestic scripts. This gives us the corrected word ε-Persand (for want of a closer simulacrum other than & itself). Far fetched as this may sound at first, St Augustine of Hippo had been a Manichean prior to his conversion to Christianity and he would have known the Zoroastrian Avesta as the background to this faith. Early monastery scholarship included the oriental church scholars and the borrowing of a letter from their scripts would seem a fairly natural step in scripting the local tongue where Latin characters fail. The scholarship would seem not to have lasted (perhaps because of the Index of Prohibited Incunabula) and the letter has been read as the Greek one I've shown - epsilon. The use of esh to represent Latin etc may come from its Greek and Cyrillic alphabet counterpart in the ετς or Щ. 12:44, 18 November 2006 (UTC) Ian Ison

I did it for several reasons.

First, I could not understand what the author was getting at in several places. For example "Note however the Hebrew Keter (Crown)..." and the assertion that because the Hebrew name of God may not be spoken, this would somehow have affected the pronunciation of the alphabet in the time of George Eliot, 19th-century England.

Second, the deleted material implies several things that I believe are actually false: "This gives us the corrected word ε-Persand", the implication being that this is a "correct" original form. I do not know of any dictionary or other authority that supports this theory.

Third, the whole thing was disjointed and incoherent. Is there a connection with Hebrew? Or is the connection with Persian? Or is it with Egyptian? And what do any of these things have to do with each other? If the additions are true, they need a more detailed explanantion.

Fourth, the whole thing was uncited. But it is all so weird that it requires citation.

I decided that the odds were that it was added either as a prank, or else was the private theory of the author, and removed it, until such time as it can be verified.

-- Dominus 13:42, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

I apologise for the editor's apparent wish to subject this set of entries to the Index. No prank was intended. Whilst we tend to view all three separately, due to our own slant on history, the reality is that Persia ruled as far as Egypt in the 22nd dynasty and that the Jewish Kabbalah deals with secret understandings of scripture which sometimes do not sit well with mainstream views of Judaism, such as the use of Pharaonic symbols and the name of the sun god. Modern Hebrew and Arabic / Persian scripts have a common ancestor and were, at the time that Avestic developed, quite closely related.

Here, I was suggesting that the Persian influence in the world of the early Christians was not negligible (the Parthian historical claims were sometimes seen as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Rome by the government of Judea and the border a source of refuge) and that the Scottish name might tell us of a piece of that influence.

Of course, other than Latin and Greek, Hebrew was the third force in Church controlled learning. I fail to see what is so astonishingly inconceivable about a letter fulfilling a missing function in the existing script as well as having a name that was used as a shorthand for a Latin phrase that puns on a Kabbalist con sept. (Don't forget that English used the 'ash' (æ), 'eth' (ð), 'thorn' (þ), 'wynn' and long s).

It seems to me that evidences of a flourishing intelligentsia in Britain after the decline of Roman power there have not been absorbed by this part of the establishment because of certain associated uncomfortable truths about entrenched stances from positions of false authority.

Nothing was inconceivable about it. As I said, I deleted it because it was bizarre, turgid, unlikely, and (most important) uncited.
If you have any references authoritative sources that support any of your ideas, please post them; then the other problems with your material will be unimportant, and we'll try to fix them.
Until you post the references, however, your theories don't belong in an encyclopedia.
Thanks for contributing. -- Dominus 20:32, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

As you may see, the Wikipedia entry for the Hebrew letter Shin itself contains the references for the possible Egyptian derivation under Origins and for the Hebrew Judaic usage to represent the god name Shaddai under In Judaism.

My reference to Keter (also a Wikipedia reference) and Ra was fairly obviously a Kabbalist pun on the usage to represent the Latin phrase et cetera. I chose this because the uraeus glyph shown as the possible origin of the Hebrew letter Shin is the sun crown in Egyptian religion and one of the more important crowns of the Pharaoh as deity.

It is, however, possible that a more Judaic reading is Keter A (alef / alif) - the first letter of the alphabet and thus the counting number one - i.e. Crown [of the] One [god]. Note that the Arabic character alif is a vertical stroke and the number one in Arabic numerals. It is also the basis for the supreme Muslim leader's title of Calif. One of the forms of Ammon (the Egyptian god who subsumed all other gods) shows him crowned with a vertical spike. It is my belief that Allah is, literally, al A - the One - an historical continuity from the cult of Ammon.

The George Eliot reference is based on her obvious classical scholarship as well as her personal choice of an Anglo-Jewish male persona. We often ignore the Jewish background of many humble English and Scottish families - long since absorbed into the cultural mainstream preferring to focus on the Hanoverian era immigration from Germany.

My suggestion that the ampersand is also a code for reading a section of text backwards or in Persian seems to be borne out in several sections of the coded poem A Chantar m'er which is my own discovery. The other part of the discovery was the @ character which bears many names including the French at baclé - another Kabbalist pun on the Hebrew-named cypher the atbash key (clé in French) qv also on Wikipedia.

Your characterisation of this analysis as bizarre, turgid and unlikely seems to show an ignorance of Kabbalist reliance on puns and of a continuing, if persecuted, Kabbalist movement in the Christian world - persecuted by those who like the (in my opinion, less than charming) religious and temporal power in the title Dominus (which a Kabbalist might read as D or Delta minus or perhaps from Minos - a bit of bull on the dark side).

windows font games[edit]

this "(&, &, &, &)" does only work in windows. It does not work under Linux. If you want something like this, you have to make a screenshot and upload it as an image. Platform independence is a must for WP. 18:47, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Would such options fit as different glyphs under Unicode (for a single given font)?
— DIV ( 06:15, 27 February 2007 (UTC))
Those show up as four differently styled ampersands in Linux. 04:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Use in Italian[edit]

In the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, '&' seems to be used as an abbreviation, not for et (which is written out in full), but for è ("he/she/it is"). Is this an idiosyncrasy of the author or printer, or was this standard usage in Italy during the early days of printing?--Siva 20:17, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Never mind. It does stand for et.--Siva 16:44, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

"O" as a word[edit]

How could "O" be, "in one point", a word in itself? Source on --Saippuakauppias 14:15, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

&#1071 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

I guess it refers to the vocative interjection, as in "Hear, O Israel!" (example from The question is, is this not still a word? Alatius (talk) 15:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I would refer you to my national anthem: O Canada. Celynn (talk) 23:04, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

How common the misconception[edit]

A google search on "Linus Amper" yields a whopping total of 13 hits, most if not all directly referencing the wiki-page. It seems that this might have been made up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:04, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I found some old texts talking about "Amper's and" on Google books. However, curiously enough, the idea that his first name was "Linus" seems to only exist on the web, and there only in refutations of the false etymology, not in any sources that actually believe in it... Alatius (talk) 15:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

and x and y[edit]

Is this to say that Latin is like Ancient Greek (maybe Modern, too, I don't know) where "x and y" is "and x and y"? (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering that right. Vietnamese does something similar I think, with "and" or maybe "or".) Why isn't it "ampers" or "ampersay" or something like that? (~User:Eitch, breaking the enforced wikibreak) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

(Does this have anything to do with the article?) To answer your question, in Latin "et x et y" is the normal way to express "both x and y"; a simple "x and y" in English corresponds to "x et y" in Latin: no initial "et" is needed. Alatius (talk) 15:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


Someone who actually has intimate knowledge about antique palaeography should have a look at the History section. I can't say I'm knowledgable enough to rewrite it myself, but I know enough to see that there is much that is questionable. For example, the evolution picture is misleading, since it is obviously not an showing the authentic evolutionary steps that leads from E + T to the rightmost &, but rather only shows the artist's own idea how to morph one to the other; especially the next to last figure is outright bizarre, and I doubt that something like that has ever genuinely been written. A true evolutionary diagram would have to begin with a 1st century roman cursive or something similar, not with a 20th century sans serif, and then step by step take into consideration the various styles of writing through the centuries. Also, it is unhistorical to talk about the origin as being an upper case "E" and a lower case "t": when ligatures such as this first where first formed, there was no notion of cases. Alatius (talk) 15:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I have now tried to remedy the faults noted above. –Alatius (talk) 17:08, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
This is the image he was talking about. Machete97 (talk) 16:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Ampersand Evolution.svg

This thing?[edit]

Does anyone know the correct name of this thing: | (found typically next to the left SHIFT key on a US-en keyboard?) Thanks. (talk) 13:59, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

See Vertical bar. Alatius (talk) 15:02, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

It's commonly called a "pipe" in computer science — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:16, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, and a quick Wikipedia search on "pipe symbol" would have yielded the proper name: Vertical bar. (Not that this has anything to do with the ampersand...) (talk) 15:55, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

In Popular Culture?[edit]

The "In Popular Culture" section seems a bit strange. Why is a campus tradition at a random Pennsylvania university encyclopedic? --Roguelazer (talk) 02:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Popular usage in text messaging?[edit]

There is a section mentioning the ampersand in text messaging: "With the growth of mobile phone usage and text messaging, the ampersand is gaining new use in SMS language both as a representation for the word "and" and in rebus form, such as "pl&" in place of the word "planned"." Well, being a teenager myself, I know that we DO NOT use it as it is generally difficult to find the ampersand on a phone input and would simply be more practical to write out: 'and'. I encourage editors to remove the section, despite its citation. The idea of using symbols such as "@" "&" in common messaging, i.e. "b@ing average" "pl&" is solely a common misconception among many adults. (talk) 07:55, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I support that. Why don't you do it, though? –Cup o' Java (talkcontribs) 00:47, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Programming languages[edit]

From the article:

Many languages with syntax derived from C differentiate between: * & for bitwise AND, which also (somewhat dangerously) functions as the non-short-circuit logical AND since C represents false/true as zero/nonzero integers, but (4 & 2) is zero (false), whereas (4 && 2) is one (true);

There is nothing inherently dangerous about this, indeed it corresponds to the machine code AND instruction. The next part is wrong, both 4&2 and 4&&2 should be zero. 3&1==1 and 3&&1==0 would show the intended discrepancy. Did I miss something? Nazlfrag (talk) 06:30, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Remind me not to do C conditional logic before my first coffee, the example is perfectly valid, and I guess the dangerous comment is too in light of my confusion :) Carry on. Nazlfrag (talk) 06:37, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Ampersand is a drug in Dominoman from Jonathan Barnes —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

To add to this, I'd say the the whole "UNIX shell" section, especially the specifics of "bash" are not appropriate to this article. The syntactical uses of a symbol in a particular edge-case are much too specific for a general article on that symbol should go in an article about, say, Bourne-shell syntax instead. — (talk) 16:01, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Why does Wikipedia:SNAFU redirect here?[edit]

Why does WP:SNAFU redirect to the ampersand article? Samwb123T-C-@ 03:32, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I'd say "The modern version" is not identical to that of the "Carolingian minuscule" at all.[edit]

In fact, I think they are hardly similar...

"The modern ampersand is virtually identical to that of the Carolingian minuscule. The italic ampersand, to the right, is originally a later et-ligature." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:12, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


The one on the left in this illustration looks sufficiently like & to me. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:18, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


"Ampersand" is a hybrid that has developed in a reasonably conventional way that parallels the development of the grapheme. Terms such as "corruption" apply mostly in the attempt to reproduce words that have not been understood, e.g. in manuscripts. I am fairly sure that the original phrase was not misunderstood, but simply transformed into a word of English appearance. Pamour (talk) 21:47, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

friv —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

What about –,   and similar codes[edit]

Where are these discussed in this article? __meco (talk) 14:34, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

In the "programming languages" section under HTML/SGML/XML. This maybe could be cleaned up.Spitzak (talk) 03:27, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Perusing that extremely messy section I'm still unable to find an appropriate discussion of this. I think you're right that a clean-up of this section is needed. Badly. __meco (talk) 12:46, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Search for "SGML entity"Spitzak (talk) 01:43, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
It's still very unreadable. Very user-unfriendly. __meco (talk) 11:41, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

History Section Immediately Contradicts the Etymology Section[edit]

The lazy Roman Samuel Amper? Not surprisingly, a Google search of Samuel Amper directs one exclusively to this entry. (talk) 03:09, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Parser Function Error (References)[edit]

Just to let editors know that a reference is causing a parser function error that I cannot fix myself. Can someone look into this? Thanks CeeX (talk) 00:36, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Semi-Protection or Prominent Bot Supervision[edit]

This article has been vandalized and lowered in quality* on several occasions. I suggest that it be consistently monitored at a higher priority level than now, as some other IP's have made fruitful contributions and I would hate to keep IP's from making edits that would improve the quality of this page. –Cup o' Java (talkcontribs) 01:01, 15 January 2013 (UTC)



What languages?[edit]

What modern languages is the ampersand used in (outside mathematical and computing contexts, etc.)? Is English the only one? Paul Magnussen (talk) 18:38, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Certainly it is used in other languages - for instance, in most European languages; and so it is a logogram not for "and," but rather for the Latin *ET*, but speakers of each language pronounce it, and think of it as representing, the analog to *ET* in their own language ("and", "und", "e", "y", etc.). But I don't have a citation so can't add it to the article. (talk)


The section on etymology is not correct. The "per se" did not precede those letters, they were repeated as an expression, e.g. "A per se A" meaning "the letter A which by itself is the word A". The conclusion is wrong, then, that when the alphabet ended with "and per se and" the first and was simply a conjunction. It was in fact referring to the symbol, and the last "and" was the word, as in "and symbol", by itself the word "and". In fact, the majority of the 19th century sources I've read give the etymology as springing originally from the phrase "et per se and", where you would read the ligature mark & as "et" (especially since in its earliest forms it looked a lot more like an E and a T), and then say that by itself (per se) it was the word "and". "et per se and" changed to "and per se and" before it became "ampersand".

The "A per se A" thing may sound weird but it was used while spelling and made sense in this case. The example given in the source "A Glossary" by Robert Nares makes this more clear (1859 edition, pg 1):

A form which appears to have been applied, in spelling, to every letter which formed a separate syllable. Thus a clown, in Dr. Faustus, spelling to himself, says, "A per se a; t,h,e, the; o per se o, &c."

(and yes, just by coincidence this reference uses an ampersand followed by a c for "etc." to abbreviate "et cetera", because of course "&" was pronounced "et" by the well-educated, and &c. was a common abbreviation then.)

So et became and, and only then did it become ampersand. It's hard to know when this happened. The "modern" form of "&" became common at least by the late 1600s, and maybe even sooner (although the form that looks more like a ligature remained in many fonts, especially italics). So even the stuff I'm reading from the 1800s is likely based in part on folklore and guesswork.

If there's no additional comments here, I'll try to clean up this section in a day or two.

Incidentally the phrase "A per se A" or just "A per se" was also used as a way of describing someone who either very impressive or full of themselves (in either case it meant they stood alone). The phrase was used by Chaucer in the late 1300s and Shakespeare in the late 1500s. Battling McGook (talk) 21:03, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

Upper case or lower case?[edit]

Did printers typically keep the ampersand stamp in their upper or their lower case?  No mention, thus far, of this appears in the article.  allixpeeke (talk) 12:11, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

I thought pictures might aid in finding out what was most common, but so far, I've not been lucky.  While the ampersand is in the upper case in this and this picture, it is in the lower in this and this picture.  Still I wonder if there tended to be any standardisation.  allixpeeke (talk) 18:50, 12 December 2016 (UTC)