Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mysterious Origin of @ Symbol

Ray Samuel Tomlinson
Ray Samuel Tomlinson
Unfolding the mystery of "@" symbol used in our email address is right in your very eyes.

@ - what is this symbol tells us about?

Every email address has used this symbol between the user's preferred email address and the provider. It was Ray Samuel Tomlinson, an American programmer who used this "@" sign to divide the user from his machine in 1971 on the ARPAnet.

Just to satisfy my curiosity the very origin and humorous legends of this unique but very useful and effective symbol in the world of cyberspace, I have culled the following bits and pieces of trivial information:

1. It is basically a separator from the user's name and the internet provider.
2. It designates cost or weight for something.
3. It is a symbol resulted from a handwriting of a tired hand of a medieval monks who kept on writing.
4. It is an abbreviation for the word "amphora", a unit of measurement.
5. It is discovered by Giorgio Stabile, an Italian scholar from a letter written by Florentine trader, Francesco Lapi.
6. It is discovered by the German by pressing Shift key and 2 together in the keyboard. They described it as clamp or clinging monkey, monkey ear, monkey tail.
7. It is "at" in English language or ampersand means "and".
8. It was first introduced in 1955 by Portuguese traders as a measure for solids and liquids, termed as "Arroba" Arabic term means "a quarter".
9. It is an abbreviation in Latin handwritings of the Middle Ages, "ad" (at to).
10. It is "crazy a" for the Serbian.
11. It is "rose" for the poetic Turkish.
12. It is "snail mail" for the French, Israelis and the Koreans.
13. It is little mouse for the Mandarin Chinese.
14. It is duckling for the Greeks.
15. It is cat's paw or cat's tail for the Finns and Swedes.
16. It is pig's ear for the Polish.
17. It is a round biscuit for the Russian.
18. It is a worm or maggot for the Hungarians.
19. It is a ringed worm for the Thais.
20. It is sow's tail for the Norwegians.
21. It is a pickled herring roll for the Chechen and Slovakia.
22. It is laughter for the British.

What about you? How do you describe this symbol? For me, it is a stenographic way of writing "at" for I was once learned and studied it how to jot down notes from a dictation by using a steno style of transcribing and we are encouraged to devise our own style if possible for our convenience. And that was what I did.

Source :

image credits :


  1. Recheck spelling. shit and 2 keys together?

    1. It's already corrected. It is "shift" not "shit". Thanks :)


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