Talk:At sign

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Removed "definition of @-DIGGER AND LINDY WORDS ARE SWITCHED IN A SENTENCE" at the end of "Modern Uses". If this is somehow not vandalism, perhaps it needs explanation before being reinstated ... Ixtli 14:55, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Its Actual Name[edit]

There is a sentence at the start of the article about there being no english name for the '@' symbol , its name is the 'ampersat' in english. And if there's an article about the '&' symbol its name is the 'ampersand'. There is a rule to this stuff, summat to do with amper being greek or summat for symbol. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:35, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

This has already been discussed here, please see other notes in this talk page (hint: look for the word 'ampersat' on this page'). If a proper citation/reference for this can be produced please add it and the reference, a good place to start looking for such a reference would be a dictionary.
Also, see the guidelines for talk pages, new comments should be placed at the end of the page and signed. it's generally a good idea to read the talk pages first anyway so that you can see any prior discussions on your contribution. EasyTarget 09:15, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Merge from Commercial at[edit]

I propose merging the article Commercial at into this article (@), leaving a redirect from there to here.

Reason for merge: both articles are principally about the symbol "@" in general.

Reason for using "@" as title: "Commercial" creates the false impression that the article is only for the symbol's use as related to commerce; indeed, it looks like confusion over the term "commercial" is why the two articles branched apart to begin with. Krubo 20:35, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

move to at sign[edit]

imo the name of an article should be the name of the symbol not the symbol itself. If there are no objections i therefore propose moving this to "at sign". I cannot make the move as a normal user because the redirect there was edited in the past hence . Plugwash 29 June 2005 16:40 (UTC)

  • Agree. All other articles on punctuation marks and similar symbols are listed at the symbol's name, not the symbol itself (see Template:Punctuation marks). --Angr/tɔk tə mi 29 June 2005 17:47 (UTC)
  • Comment: Why not "at" or "at symbol"? As the article says, those are both common names for the symbol. NatusRoma 30 June 2005 05:53 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The current title is simple, straightforward, and unambiguous. People would always be bickering about which phrasing is better anyway ("at sign" versus "at symbol" etc.) —Mulad (talk) June 30, 2005 06:25 (UTC)
  • Support Article titles are names of things, not the things. At sign is unambiguous, and the most commonly-used name in my experience. Michael Z. 2005-06-30 18:01 Z
  • Comment: The letter Þ is there, not at its English name thorn, and that isn't as easy to type on most keyboards in the English-speaking world. I am currently undecided about this. Jonathunder 2005 July 8 01:20 (UTC)
There's currently a discussion about moving it back to thorn (letter). Michael Z. 2005-07-9 23:28 Z
judging from the history of Thorn (linguistics) that article seems to have been moved arround quite a bit. Plugwash 23:59, 9 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Support: "at sign" or "at symbol" Dragons flight 20:38, July 9, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. "At sign" is the most common term among speakers of the English language. —Lifeisunfair 03:10, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

This article has been renamed after the result of a move request. violet/riga (t) 20:10, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

I have removed the following paragraph as it has no grounding wahtever in research. could someone justify where this wholly biase point of view comes from?

Many Spanish speakers feel that this use of the "@" is degrading to their language, and some allege that it is an example of cultural imperialism. This construction is generally only used in informal writing.

Would anyone be interested in explaining the history of the joke behind calling '@' by the name of 'atgry'? I read the referenced link, but that only gave me the punchline - what's the joke? Peruvianllama 05:29, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

What English word ends in "gry" besides hungry and angry? Circulating around the net in the mid-90's, but has no conventional or commonly-accepted answer... AnonMoos 02:30, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I've heard that atgry (at atgrynge in plural form) is another name for @ but I don't see it anywhere in the article; does anyone have any sources? (talk) 10:37, 7 April 2013 (UTC)


I am adding to the section of various uses that it is also used online as a representation of the circle-a anarchy sign. (see anarchist symbolism)The Ungovernable Force 06:56, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Removing ""Commercial at" in other languages"[edit]

Hi guys,

I'm quite perplexed at seeing this section. Interwiki links already cover this, don't they? --Gennaro Prota 01:23, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmm... I withdraw this, sorry. With interwiki links only, we wouldn't have the translation of the non-English names, of course. --Gennaro Prota 01:29, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Objections to Modern Usage[edit]

I think the Modern Usage section has been abused. Some are appropriate, but most others belong in elsewhere (Technical Usage section?) if at all.

Certainly the bit about emails is apropos since it jumps to mind immediately. But after that, the section quickly degrades into anarchy. The bit about perl hardly falls into modern usage unless perl has suddenly befallen to the general masses. Would you expect a discussion of perl's syntax in an encyclopedia article on a typographic mark?

If perl wasn't bad enough, we descend into IRC? Even worse, it covers ridiculous over-the-top politically correct linguistically-objectionable BS about gender neutral pronouns and pikachu.

My point is that none of that stuff belong in "Modern Uses" section where mainstream usage belongs. Other crap should be under "Technical and otherwise obscure usage" section. (my personal vote is to get rid of all of it outright.)

Guys, check this URL out-[edit] Good stuff, credible source. Look it over and amend the the designated article as is appropriate. Sorry, I'm too lazy to do it myself. . .isn't it enough I fished up a good source on a subject with notoriously hazy reference material? Armando Vega a.k.a. MondoManDevout 00:53, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


Please, someone clarify, what does the Malagasy word amin'ny mean! I'm dying of curiosity. -Oghmoir 18:25, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

"sometimes mistakenly called an ampersand"?[edit]

This seems a rather odd line to have at the beginning of the article. I've never heard anyone make this mistake in my life! Is it really so common? (and is this "verifiable"?) Encyclopedias should hardly be listing wrong information! :)--feline1 17:18, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I came to this page specifically looking for this information as I've repeatedly heard people (always in and around Bedford, UK, in case that's relevant) calling the @ symbol 'ampersand' which as far as I knew refereed specifically to & (and). I was trying to find out if perhaps the two had a common origin or if there was any explanation for calling it an ampersand. I suspect, based on this page, it's people mishearing/mispronouncing ampersat or asperand. Which is extremely confusing, especially when they're telling you a computer password or something else where there's no context to work out which character they mean. (talk) 16:29, 25 January 2019 (UTC)

Mandarin Chinese in not spoken in Taiwan[edit]

I'd prefer if someone discussed this issue before reverting my changes. Of course Taiwanese people do speak Mandarin Chinese, but the translation for the "at sign" in the article is in Taiwanese Chinese, a separate dialect of Chinese, and so it is misleading to put it under "Mandarin Chinese" as opposed to "Chinese" in general. -- 13:18, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't get it. You just immediately admitted that Mandarin Chinese is spoken in Taiwan. As stated in Mandarin (linguistics): "Standard Mandarin functions as...the official spoken language of the Republic of China (Taiwan)". Also, an overwhelmig majority of the Taiwanese population speak Mandarin natively or fluently. "Xiao laoshu" is clearly Mandarin Chinese pronounciation.—Tokek 16:51, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

The headline was to put the point across forcefully, although indeed it isn't strictly correct as Mandarin is one of the dialects spoken in Taiwan. Nonetheless, I find it strange that there is a special way of saying "at sign" only in Taiwan that could be nonetheless be considered as part of the Mandarin dialect -- one can't have it both ways! Thus I maintain it would be clearer not to put the definitions under "Mandarin Chinese", but just "Chinese". -- 13:20, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

In Icelandic it is called "the earmuff."[edit]

What is the Icelandic word for "the earmuff"?


I'm sorry to complain, but trying to read the article with constant animation in my field of view is just impossible and infuriating. I'll replace it with a static image. Michael Z. 2006-09-15 19:22 Z

I've replaced it with a static image which is much less distracting. It also lets the reader compare the different stages of evolution. Michael Z. 2006-09-15 19:42 Z

Self-referential use in this article[edit]

The at sign, commercial at, or just the at is used in email addresses, and sometimes in financial documents or commercial inventories. It does not belong in this article as an abbreviation for its own name. I'll do some clean-up.  Michael Z. 2006-09-15 20:12 Z

Each Sign[edit]

I am surprised the article fails to mention long before it was the "AT" sign it was called the "Each" sign. I worked in grocery stores and we always used it to mean each. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Actually, the symbol means "at". "2 apples @ 30 cents" means "two apples at thirty cents [each]". If the symbol meant "each", it would be written as "2 apples [at] 30 cents @". Anyway, I find it hard to believe that you were working in grocery stores long before it was called the "at" sign. :D --Quuxplusone 00:00, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I finally found a picture of one of the old variants suggesting "each." at

Maybe an editor with graphic skilz could put it (or something like it) in the article?

Mydogtrouble (talk) 14:08, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


From TFA:

The origin of @ is debated, but is most likely a cursive form of ā, or possibly à (the French word for 'at').


The at sign appears to have evolved from the Norman French "à" or ā, an abbreviation of an unknown word beginning with a.

I'm inclined to remove both sentences because neither is sourced, and sourcing is omfg important, srsly. 19:29, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Tanjilur is helpful to us — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:09, 6 October 2018 (UTC)


Its most familiar modern use is in e-mail addresses (sent by SMTP), as in ("the user named ‘jdoe’ working at the computer named ‘example’ in the ‘com’ domain").

this isn't meant to be the computer named 'example' is it? its the user at the domain... 23:57, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Commonly referred to?[edit]

the ampersat, the commat, the obelix. Never ever heard those. Feel free to add with cited source and appropriate conditioning - I didn't feel I could honestly even add an occasionally referred to clause to the sentence.Naim Spenny 15:26, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Commercial sense[edit]

The article says:

"2 widgets à £5.50 = £11.00" is the sort of accountancy shorthand notation you will see on English commercial vouchers and ledgers all the way into the 1990s, where the usage was superseded for accountants with its email usage.

This sounds confused. @ was and still is (to some extent) used in this way; I'm not aware that à ever was in English. Also, the end of the sentence makes no sense if referring to à. Ben Finn 22:41, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

=="Ampersat" & "asperand" as names for @==e-mio@anoussgr Σπτοs I consider “ampersat” to be a naturally spontaneous neologistic development from the long-established word for the so-called “AND symbol,” that is, the “ampersand” (the symbol “&”). The “&” is the most natural analog to the “@” functionally and the name “commercial at,” while proper, is not seen as conversationally satisfying by many users. I started using “ampersat” on my own and found people already familiar with the word “ampersand” understood it instantly (unless they first thought I’d misspoken). I continue to suggest the word “ampersat” for general acceptance as another name for the now ubiquitous “commercial at.”

What I am mystified by is the appearance of the word “asperand” for the commercial at. It strikes me as an accidental mispronunciation of “ampersand” by a person who believed that the “ampersand” was the @ and not the &. (You will see people call the @ an “ampersand” from time to time.) I suppose it could otherwise be another intentional play on the word “ampersand” in the same way “ampersat” is, although, I have to say, a eless obvious and more vnconfusing one. (“Ampersae ” or even “atpersand” I can get. “Asperand” I do not.) e-ma My impulse is to suppress the use of the word “asperand” as a name for @. Before I go that far, however, I hope that someone out there can confirm the origins of the word “asperand.”

(1) Could it be that “asperand” is an accepted yet obscure term for the @, amongst typesetters for example, that warrants more respect than I am inclined to give it?

For example you will find the claim that @ is “[o]fficially known as an ‘asperand,’” in at least one place on the web. [I suppose this is a spurious claim, but I don’t know.] Tanjilur

(2) If “asperand” is a recent invention, does it seem to be a spurious word that is dying off (hopefully) quickly? I get the creepy feeling when I look on the web that the word might be getting a false veneer of acceptance due to the persistence of a few advocates (or an advocate) who have been promulgating it as “official,” whatever that means.

Some references: (Note an instance of the the claim that the @ is called the “ampersand” here.),5753,-1773,00.html

P.S. - All that being said, I’m sure “asperand” will be a fine name for the “as” symbol, when that beast is finally invented.

Criticality 08:35, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

  • I have heard "atpersat" which I like better. Perhaps someone can confirm or deny this word? Gregbard 21:21, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
There are a fair number of references to this as an unofficial word. It is a clear consensus that none of these words are as yet real. That does not stop them growing into usage (love it or hate it). There is a temptation to give something false accuracy by creating a complicated word for something quite simple: why do people reel at the thought of an at sign and like something in cod Latin.

Nice discussion here [1]:

There was recent disussion in a newspaper about this (probably the Times). The accepted names are '"at" sign', or 'commercial "at"', but the suggestion that had the columnist's approval was - on the analogy of "ampersand" - "atpersand". I disagree, but I'm less influential than the columnist.
The reason for my objection is that 'ampersand' (&) is a contraction of '"and" per se "and"', so that the analogy for "at" should be "atpersat".
Note: this is a metalinguistic rant on my part; I'd advise people to use 'the "at" sign' - although I fear that "atpersand" may catch on.
The thing to be careful of here is that Wikipedia does not become a vehicle to mislead people into the acceptability of otherwise, and any statement on the main page of these alternative names needs to be carefully qualified. I removed a lead in reference a little while back which casually said that these were names they were known by as it gave a false impression of validity. What might be appropriate is a paragraph noting the debate on the sign that has no name, but it should be careful not to be a vehicle for promotion. Spenny 09:57, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

FWIW Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms Spenny 17:30, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

This may be mere assumption, but I've been calling this sign 'cost-at' for years, because that's what it was used for: 12 items @ 6/- (each) = 72/- which used to appear on old type-written bills and invoices (72/- is shillings, or £3 12shillings in pre-decimalisation UK money, which is what I mean by old). Hence, it may be no more than a combination of C and a. This doesn't preclude it's evolving from a different, pre-existing, symbol, even one from a different language, but if so, then the resemblance to a combined C/a would have made it an obvious choice - one that printers could have reached for rather than having to invent something new.

As for the name, 'ampersand' refers to '&' because it translates roughly as "in place of 'and'", so is actually quite a straightforward term, albeit needed mostly by printers and typesetters rather than the general reader. This would make the term for '@', in the same way: 'ampersat', though it can also be seen that the name for something generally settles down through usage rather than definition, and may ultimately have more to do with having the right 'sound' than the right archaic meaning. Lookstranger (talk) 10:56, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

The "Asperand" Strikes Back . . . time for a English neologism section?[edit]

Recently the user Sarsnic has put “asperand,” in bold no less, back up as an accepted name for “@” with the comment “[t]his symbol was correctly indicated as the asperand and I am putting that back with a ref to back it up.” Amusingly, a citation is offered to support this use, which can hardly be a valid source since is simply mirroring the instant Wikipedia article (or earlier versions of same). [And it doesn't even have "Asperand" in its text, as my writing.] With all due respect, “asperand” is a word that has almost no existence outside of user editable internet sites. I suggested before that the word might literally be the result of a one-man campaign to create the false appearance of common acceptance. Sadly, Wikipedia is a fine vehicle for such deception. All words have a beginning and maybe “asperand” is the future, but no one should come away from this Wikipedia article in the belief that more than one person in the world uses “asperand” to mean @. For the moment I am removing the “asperand” edit.

However, in the interest of maintaining an editorial peace (cease-edit?) and, more importantly, both completeness & accuracy, I think it may (or may not) be time to include a brief section in this article about the English neologism quandary. There “ampersat” (which, as I have stated before, I like), “asperand” and other English neologisms can be accurately depicted for what they are. People will then have an objective reference for these neologisms should they encounter them. Any thoughts on any of this?

Criticality (talk) 20:20, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes. I work at EBSCO Publishing, and in our internal style manual the @ is identified as an asperand--which right off the bat explodes the idea that there are only one or two people in the world using the term. However, it is clearly not terribly common, as "asperand" by itself returns fewer than 2,000 hits in a Google search; I have not taken the time to sift through them, but the first page of results does not turn up anything particularly authoritative.
Nonetheless, I DEFINITELY think the term should be put back in the article, and when I first came here (to clarify its use in the EBSCO manual!) I was baffled that it was absent. It needs to go back in, the only question is what source(s) to use for the citation. As I am at work right now, I don't have time to pursue this now--hope I can get back to it. AdRock (talk) 14:16, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Someone at EBSCO wrote the manual for internal use and they may or may not have used Wikipedia, etc., as a source. I’m sure your company takes the composition of its manuals very seriously; however, I would so love to know if the author was relying on a non-internet source. My attitude would turn dramatically if there were a publically published reference to “asperand” (especially before, say 1995).
But, importantly, I think we are in agreement that there is a way to handle this issue that is objective, respectful, informative and maybe even wiki-compliant! -- Criticality (talk)
Ampersat doesn't even appear in the Oxford English Dictionary (Unabridged) either online, or the massive multi-volume physical copy on campus. Can't really justify that it ever exists, since they have the most random words in there that have only been used once, or even "Meaning unknown". (talk) 17:46, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Incorrect Polish word[edit]

Hello. I come from Poland, I live here since 1986 and I have never heard the atka word which is mentioned as an official word for the At Sign. I mean never in radio, TV, any book, magazine or newspaper, noone of my friends and from my work have never said atka for At Sign. I work in IT, I don't think I'm wrong, am I? Anyone from Poland reading this have heard the word? Answer, I'm curious.

I've never heard atka used anywhere too and I live in Poland too. I wonder who said it's "official". Maybe it's another "dead rule" used only in dictionaries or something like that. By the way if you're curious you can check Polish Wiki's At sign article and discussion page ( ). 15:57, 22 June 2007 (UTC) capybara
I have also never heard anyone use the word "bałwanek" for this sign... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

The German word is also stupid[edit]

No one in Germany calls the @ sign a spider monkey or monkey's tail. Well, at least no one who is serious about computers. It's always only At or "At-Zeichen". Suggest removal of these funny names. Even if this New York Times article is correct and is based on some research, it was not properly cited. (talk) 19:58, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Computing usage[edit]

The list of usages isn't very useful or relevant for this article. I suggest the list is severely culled to a handful of representative examples. Managed to do this with semicolon which has stabilised with the more notable computer language examples (with the aid of a judiciously placed comment to ask for common sense to avoid over-expanding example lists. It is not entirely perfect but such an approach has stopped the endlessly increasing list of examples. The appropriate reference about @ in computer language is the language article itself if a notable element, or the manual itself - Wiki is not a computer language reference. I will be bold, depending on feedback. Comments? Spenny 13:04, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I've seen the symbol used in blog comments lately-- in one case when the blog author responded to a comment "@ anonymous". Is this a new usage? And if so, where did it come from? Thanks. 14:46, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Original text here:

The @ is used in various programming languages as a prefix, with various meanings:

Spenny 14:23, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

More modern @ use ?[edit]

I'm French and perhaps, stupid. I don't understand the use of "@" in the "Twitter" language when people write: 14:00 @machin blablabla What does mean @ ? Is the meaning explain in the article (I didn't find it) or not?

Thanks //moonrays

The symbol is used to represent "at" (à) meaning "located at". I think the article does try and explain this but it assumes that "at" gives enough of a sense of location. It might be worth a little re-wording to allow that meaning to be a liottle stronger.Spenny 15:13, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
@Spenny: I think I understand what 'moonrays' means; since I came here looking for clarification about how it is becoming used in comment logs and discussion boards.
It appears to be rapidly becoming a convention to use something of the form '@username: <message>' as the subject/opening line in posts addressing a previous comment or author. This is really recent but I am seeing it more and more these days, normally in comment sections for news sites. There seems to be a personal element to this too; it's often used for trolling or a rebuttal/dismissal to a troll.. The sense is 'This is aimed at them (@them)', it is a specific, directed, reply.
I got so curious about this that I actually came here looking to see if this is some common use that has passed me by, but it is not specifically discussed here either. As a very quick 'for instance' go here: and search for '@', it's being used twice to reply to an anonymous poster. EasyTarget 15:38, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see, ambiguous example, hadn't come across that variation, it looked like an address, though it is obvious now it is pointed out (it still fits with the at theme). I guess that might almost be worthy of an entry aside from new usages aren't supposed to be included on the basis that Wikipedia might be encouraging them rather than reporting on them. Spenny 23:07, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

It may be peculiar to the music fandom mailing lists I've been on, but since at least 1997 I've seen @ used as a marker for off topic posts on lists and discussion boards, in the same way as "OT". In this context, the name for it was "bun" or "cinnabon". — Catherine\talk 04:30, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

No news is good news.[edit]

I notice there has been a minor edit skirmish regarding the current 'news' that a chinese couple have tried to name their child '@'; This is potentially not current news at all, but a rehash of old news according to one source; see here and the 2004 story here.

Thanks for that. It wasn't a good edit and it wasn't really very encyclopedic, but it is nice to have an analysis to back that presumption up rather than just quoting Wiki policy. Spenny 10:43, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Mathematician and computer scientist Aad van Wijngaarden (2 November 1916 – 7 February 1987) used a small at sign as his personal mark. I'm not sure if this would be the first instance of someone calling themselves "@". NevilleDNZ (talk) 02:54, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Daily Telegraph / Reuters plagiarizing Wikipedia?[edit]

Is Reuters or The Daily Telegraph (Australia) plagiarizing Wikipedia? Look near the bottom of this article. ~ UBeR 00:36, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Well it's not really plagiarising if it's in the public domain but it doesn't say much for the quality of their newspapers if they just lift it off the Web. Many papers are doing that nowadays though - taking news stories from the Internet and changing the wording a little and printing it =( Sean 04:42, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
The GFDL license requires attribution from the source you copy material from. ~ UBeR 04:55, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
And actually, it may have been someone from The Daily Telegraph, because the story on the Reuters' Web page ( does not have the extra information. ~ UBeR 14:30, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


I just undid a change to the introduction changing "at sign" to "attersand", I really cannot find any other references giving "attersand" as a formal name for this, it does not appear in wikitionary or, and a google search shows it most in use as a Scandanavian name.

In addition, the same section where the change was made ends with the quote "no formal English term has been officially assigned to this character.", kind of contradicting the edit made. Until this term is properly sourced we should avoid having it given as 'the name' for this symbol.

See here (earlier in this talk page) for some more discussion over names for this symbol..

EasyTarget 13:23, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


I just tried (probably badly) to reconcile the two Spanish and one Portuguese entries in the other languages section, I've essentially combined the Spanish stuff and put the Brazilian usage note into the Portuguese section. Since I know that they are related but distinctly different languages this seemed like a more sensible layout. EasyTarget (talk) 12:38, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Possible historical reference[edit]

Ok, I work at my city's archive, and am tasked with transcribing several old documents(ca. 1700) and found something which looks suspiciously much like the at sign.

I can try to get a picture of it online this weekend in case anyone would like to have a look at it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:15, 15 February 2008 (UTC)


The most accurate term I have come across for this symbol is "Amphora", which literally means 'two handled'. There's no coincidence that @ has two circles.

But the most compelling reason is that the "at symbol" was originally used in mediterranean seafaring merchants' log books to represent an amphora, an ancient unit of measurement comprised of approximately 22.7 Liters or 6 Gallons, or what could be held in an Amphora, a clay vessel used to transport foodstuffs In ancient Greece and Rome.

BETA 03:04, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


I don't want to start an edit war, but I dislike the inclusion of ampersat as a name for @. Feeling it to be a very new word that hasn't obatined general acceptance yet. Obvious there are those that fell otherwise. How do we determine whether the article should mention ampersat or not? -- SGBailey (talk) 10:09, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I worry that "general acceptance" is too conservative a test for an alternate name for a symbol of uncommon reference. A google for uncommon typographic terms, can yield a significantly greater number of hits (150,000 for "interrobang", while "ampersat" languishes at 3530). On the other hand, similar "alternate names" for punctuation tend to be included on wikipedia pages with far fewer hits. (Consider epershand, with its 1220 hits). I think it also cuts in ampersat's favor that it is etymologically accurate ("use in place of 'at'"), as comments above point out. It is currently out of the page, probably in accordance with WP:Avoid Neologisms mentioned above. I'm not going to stick it back in, but I think its inclusion is fair game for further discussion.--Thomas Btalk 01:26, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
I feel that the article name should be Ampersat, I came to the page to find out it's proper name and when I saw that the title of the article was "at sign" I was like... really? There's nothing better?SyBerWoLff 14:07, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

In actual usage, this seems to be called the "at sign" almost everywhere I'm familiar with, though "at symbol" does not seem implausible. Is "at site" a variant in some location I don't frequent? Googling it comes up with pieces of phrases like "shoot at site", which is unhelpful. I'm tempted to think it was a bizarre mistake of some sort that nobody has bothered to fix. ("Ampersat" sounds like the name given it by an isolated community of specialists, and not an actual word in what might be considered a dialect of English. It's possible I'm wrong on that, though.) (talk) 19:00, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Could a section be included that says something like, "This symbol has been called the ampersat sign, but no source has been found."? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

As an American with lots of editing and computer experience, I would never call this symbol an "at sign", and don't know anyone who would. We call it the "at symbol". Is it commonly called a sign in other anglophone countries? Meaning no derision, I would only expect to hear "at sign" out of someone whose vocabulary doesn't yet include the word symbol, or from someone with little experience talking about keyboards and typography. I'm intrigued by ampersat, but have never encountered it before reading this page. Eric talk 15:23, 15 February 2016 (UTC)[edit]

I second the earlier comment where this email address refers to the user 'jdoe' at the domain '' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

@ on the keyboard[edit]

Where is the @ sign located? Did it change over time?-- (talk) 08:44, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Over the 2 key on the EN_US keyboards. It's different on most of them. ffm 11:41, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, for this reason, my family has always just called it a "capital 2" (like A is a capital a, etc)-- but I certainly wouldn't add that, given the rest of the debate about names! :D Cantras (talk) 17:45, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Shift-2 is a double-quote (") here. But, I've seen the at-sign as it's own key (Japanese keyb) or ALT-GR-Q (German) (talk) 17:48, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Redirect to @Home Network[edit]

A disambiguation redirect template is used when an article title or redirection to an article is readily confused with multiple meanings. @Home Network is pronounced "At Home Network", not simply "At", so it's unreasonable to think that a Wikipedia request for @ implies a desire to look for information about @Home. After all, it's not the only business that has used or currently uses an at sign in its name. Todd Vierling (talk) 05:00, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Added multiple issues template[edit]

This article is really getting out of hand. Grammar problems all over the place; almost no references at all; a huge definition list of the mark in a whole bunch of languages (all of which individually need published citeable sources!); and a bunch of only loosely associated information about programming languages and other topics.

I didn't really see much of a choice but to tag the page for multiple reasons -- it needs cleanup in a bad way. So if you're intent on adding more to these lists of information, please make sure that any content you add has real citations! Todd Vierling (talk) 04:56, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

footnote citation 3[edit]

This is my first contribution to wikipedia; help or guidance from others would be appreciated.

Concerning the citation for footnote 3: the source referenced is Ask Yahoo which I don't consider very reliable. Also, it states that the first email was sent in 1971. I have something from a book called 'Wired Style'. Hale, Constance, ed. (1996) Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age. Hardwired. ISBN 1-888869-01-1. However, the book is under copyright. On page 15 they discuss the at sign and state that Kate Hafner and Matthew Lyon wrote a book entitled 'Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet' from which they quote that the first email was sent in 1972. There is some very good information about the "at" sign in this reference but I don't know if it could be reproduced here legally.

At any rate, it seems the date in question could be changed to 1972.

Chris ubach (talk) 08:05, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Pre-internet iconic use[edit]

In Alfred Bester's 1953 novel "The Demolished Man", there's a character named "@kins" (i.e. Atkins)... AnonMoos (talk) 06:20, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Substitution of @ and . in e-mail addresses[edit]

Should this article cover the act of substituting the at sign and full stop with something like [at] and [dot] in e-mail addresses respectively, and discuss why it's done? Like when the address "" is written as "joe13 [at] example [dot] com". --BiT (talk) 18:26, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

A different meaning.[edit]

I can't remember where I heard or read this, but I thought the original meaning of this symbol was "around" to shorten that word up. It makes sense, because it takes longer to write out this symbol, that to write the word "at". Also, this is an A with a circle around it..... a-round. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Asperand again[edit]

On January 4 added "asperand" to the page. It was changed to "amperand" (sic) on January 9, then back to "asperand" on January 16 by, this time adding a reference (and making it bold). As the reference added by an unregitered user is rather weak and I find no consensus on the talk page, I am undoing the edit. Tengilorg (talk) 09:27, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Soviet computer screen image[edit]

The image of a Soviet computer screen is captioned as being from circa 1984 but the screen includes a WWW address -- surely that date is incorrect? Z57N (talk) 14:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

If you check the image page, you can see that the image was taken in 2009 by "Sergei Frolov, Soviet Computers Museum". I assume the image is here to show that the machine (built in 1984) was capable of displaying the @ symbol. The address is just a print out of a BASIC program likely written recently. However, the image also serves as advertising for the museum (the address is real) and was added to the article by the site's owner Sergei Frolov, is this allowed? (talk) 21:59, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
I think this image should be removed. It adds virtually nothing, and is confusing by its c.1984, which must relate only to the hardware, which has nothing to do with the at sign. Ron Schnell — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aviators99 (talkcontribs) 13:41, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Modern Usage and "located at"[edit]

Regarding the comment about use in e-mail addresses, I've never come across it being read "located at". In fact, it doesn't tell you anything about where a person, account or computer is located (because an e-mail address isn't an address at all, it is a name by communications definitions). I recommend that the comment about "located at" be removed and just leave the simpler fact that it is used in e-mail addresses, with a possible example of how one would read it, but not an explanation of what each part means - that would be a subject for an article on e-mail addresses. (talk) 19:54, 26 April 2010 (UTC)


In MS-DOS batch files, @ is used to prevent the command itself from being echoed during the batch file's execution. For example:


Will display:

Press any key to continue . . .



Will display only:

Press any key to continue . . .

Of course, any commands sent after an ECHO OFF (or @ECHO OFF), will be treated as if they have an @ before them, even if they don't.

I think, since MS-DOS used to be the most popular Operating System of its day, it's notable enough for inclusion here, but I won't put it in, unless everyone here agrees. - OBrasilo (talk) 11:10, 21 July 2010 (UTC)


The reference to the symbol as being largely obscure is pure point of view - how could it be measured? We had to work out bills of sale at primary school arithmetic lessons, so it was in common usage even by children in the early seventies, and was no more or less obscure than the plus or minus sign. Also, as the subject comes up later in the article and in these discussions, the symbol never had any sense of “each” then in what we did, as we were taught that you had to specify the quantity as an element of the price (so “6 widgets @ £5·00 per widget” or “6 widgets @ £5·00 each”, “3 gross tin tacks @ £5·00 the gross”, etc. - the latter obviously being different from, and certainly less ambiguous than “3 gross of tin tacks, £5·00 each”. Jock123 (talk) 20:36, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

I heartily agree - it was certainly a well-known symbol in the sixties ( and presumably long before that, long before it's internet use took over. In school maths books, on invoices from hardware suppliers, that sort of thing. OK, not as ubiquitous as now, but by no means "obscure".Paul J Williams (talk) 09:17, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Agree as well. After all, as the article itself states, the symbol has been on typewriters almost from the beginning. How obscure could it be? I suspect the perception comes about because, I am told, its use in meanings other than email (and programming operators of various kinds) has declined as those other uses have increased. ghaff (talk) 22:55, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Towards the origins of the '@' sign

For the origin of the sign, please, look for some mediaeval Byzantine (Middle Greek) and Middle Bulgarian (Cyrillic) documents. For example, this

is from a 14th-century Bulgarian translation of a Byzantine chronicle. The '@' is used as the first letter in "amen". There are maybe even earlier Byzantine examples. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Glishev (talkcontribs) 02:45, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

  1. REDIRECT Habbo (talk) 16:41, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Asperand, ampersat, etc: moving them out of the lead para.[edit]

As previous discussions have noted, the name asperand is quite dubious — at best it’s a minority usage, at worst it’s simply a typo which got propagated and given credence due to its appearance in this article. At least some users seem keen to see it included, however, so I’m not removing it, but moving it into the “names” section, in the body of the article. This way it’s still documented, but doesn’t appear in the lead of the article, from which it’s most likely to be propagated further. As a further advantage, this gives a place to list more names than would be appropriate in the lead sentence.

I’d be happy to see the debate over the currency of asperand, ampersat continue; if they have been used significantly within any community, and someone can find sources, then I would agree they should be here. However, in the meantime, it seems inappropriate to have them opening the article while they’re still highly disputed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pit-trout (talkcontribs) 18:40, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Okay, I think I need to comment on this. If "asperand" is new, it's been around since at least the 70's. I recall as a teen using it back in the 80's while typing on word processors, and I got the term from my mother, who probably heard it well before then. Obviously this is just "me source" and not anything as documented evidence, but this isn't something that someone just misspoke back in, say, 2007.ip.address.conflict (talk) 06:21, 27 August 2011 (UTC)


The @ sign is the symbol for a "a human or elf" in the text based rogue like computer game nethack ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 21 February 2011 (UTC)


Several european languages use the name "apestail" to describe this symbol (see here). With this European notability, should an apestail addition be added to the intro as an alternative unambiguous term? Pass a Method talk 18:25, 20 August 2011 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page not moved. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:48, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

At signApetail

  • Most European languages use a similar phrase. "At sign" is not that well known. Alternative names, such as monkeytail could be voted on too. Pass a Method talk 21:01, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is the English Wikipedia and there is no question that "@" is short for "at" in English, whether in the original context of bookkeeping (3 @ 5.00 means "3 at 5 dollars") or in the more recent context of email addresses (user@domain means "user at domain"). An internet essay about the difficulties some people who don't speak English may have with the symbol is no reason to change this title. --Born2cycle (talk) 22:17, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Voluted A in Czech/Slovak?[edit]

There is no indication it was called voluted A (zavinuté A) in Czech or Slovak at any time in the history. Except for Wikipedia and one blog stating that the author thinks so (but is not confident), there are no search hits for this term. On the other hand, even the Czech Ethymological Dictionary states that the at sign was named after the rollmops. -- (talk) 10:27, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Type it like alt+[edit]

Is there a way besides using the shift key? Can't seem to type it the regular way, but there are characters that have the alt+ code right? (talk) 20:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Try "alt+64". — WylieCoyote (talk) 00:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

language references and formatting[edit]

I feel it would possibly be beneficial if the languages were transformed into a table; does this fit with general concensus ?--ProfPolySci45 (talk) 01:10, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Commonly known as...[edit]

Commonly known as "Monkey Choad" This seems a bit off. Also, may be considered offensive. Is this people vandalising or what? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adamcreamore (talkcontribs) 12:46, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Is modal logic a programming language?[edit]

If not, it should be moved to a different sub-section. (talk) 12:42, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

German and Swiss German[edit]

In the section about the names in different languages German is mentioned without any reference to Swiss German. Then Swiss German is mentioned later on, where the term is different. I think this may be confusing, and that uniting them for the benefit of those readers who're interested in some variety of German but might not be aware that they should look for Swiss German separately is preferable. Also, it would be good to write what term they use in Austria. (talk) 13:42, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


'!@' redirects here. It isnt mentioned in the article or on the talk page. Does anyone know why? John Vandenberg (chat) 04:15, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Historical discrepancy[edit]

The text currently states (in the historical use section) that the earliest fully-developed modern @ sign is found in a 1536 letter, but next to it is a image of a manuscript from ca. 1345 with the sign. It looks very close to the modern sign (much more so than the 1448 Aragonese @ mentioned). I think this should be looked into. Faenglor (talk) 19:13, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

In Computers: ATA is AT Attachment. But what is AT in this sense??? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:23, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

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I was under the impression @ was used as general shorthand for “at,” pre-computer age. Is this right—is it part of official shorthand languages? Lynn Ami (talk) 15:51, 28 June 2019 (UTC)