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Commercial at

A commercial at, @, also called an at symbol, an "at sign", or just at, is a symbolic abbreviation for the word at. Its formal name comes from its commercial use in invoices, as in, "7 widgets @ £2 ea. = £14". It is also known as strudel, and, rarely, each, vortex, and whorl, and INTERCAL: whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape, cat, rose, cabbage, amphora.

Its most familiar use today is in e-mail addresses: e.g., It is ironic that @ has become a trendy mark of the Internet since it is a very old symbol, derived from the Latin preposition "ad" (at). Giorgio Stabile, a professor of history in Rome, has traced the symbol back to the Italian Renaissance in a Roman mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on May 4, 1536 (1536-05-04).

"Commercial at" in other languages:

The commercial at corresponds to Unicode and ASCII character 64, or 0x0040.

This article (or an earlier version of it) contains material from FOLDOC, used with permission.

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