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The Origin Of The @ Sign

todayFebruary 10, 2024 20

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The internet has been around, officially, since 1983. So, how is it that the @ sign, has been around for about 488 years?

We associate the @ sign with e-mail and X, formerly known as twitter, but it wasn’t created specifically for the internet!

The actual origin of the @ sign isn’t known, but there are a few theories.

Such as:

Medieval monks, looking for shortcuts while copying manuscripts. It is thought that they converted the Latin word for “toward” which is “ad” to a simple a, and the back of the ‘d’ used for the tail.

Or it came from the French word for “at”, and scribes, striving for efficiency, swept the nib of the pen around the top and side.

Another theory is that the symbol evolved from an abbreviation of “each at” the “a” being encased by an “e.” 

Honestly, either of these could have been the start of the @ sign.

What I can tell you for sure, is that the first documented use was in 1536, in a letter by Francesco Lapi, who was a Florentine merchant, who used @ to denote units of wine, which were shipped in large clay jars.

 

Written by: Anne Mans

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