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May 27, 2012

The Octothorp


We know it as the hash sign but the real name is octothorp.
Those aware of the aquatic creature with eight legs will know that the first two syllable means “eight” which if you add the points up, certainly does add up! The “Thorpe” part of the word comes from a word which means farm in the ancient language Old Norse. Traditionally a village would have eight fields surrounding it making up a farm. Get it? We use it for numbering but the original use of the symbol would be to indicate a village on a map. --The Story of Symbols ~ Kuriositas

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 27, 2012 9:10 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Really, because I was raised calling it the "pound sign".

Posted by: Casca at May 27, 2012 11:53 AM

Mr V

Thanks again; you are a true fonte moderne

Posted by: OhioDude at May 27, 2012 1:46 PM

Sadly, I seem to have heard that the Octothorp is flat broke and signed a contract to perform in porn videos. Shouldn't have had all those other little baby superscripts and subscripts if it couldn't afford to take care of them.

Or was I thinking of Nadya Suleman?...

Posted by: Mike James at May 27, 2012 2:17 PM

Casca, that's what had me confused. The Octomom is a sort of "pound sign", if you think about it.

Posted by: Mike James at May 27, 2012 2:19 PM


There's that generational thing again. I grew up believing that "#" meant "number", as in #10 can, etc.

I still can't figure out the relationship between "#" and "pound", although I use it like everybody else.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at May 28, 2012 10:24 AM

Motherfuckers have been changing the rules on us when we weren't looking.

Posted by: Casca at May 28, 2012 4:53 PM

I learned that from the same source that taught me that the plastic-stiffened end of a shoelace was called an "aiglet" -- which confoosed the hell outta me, cuz naow Ah don't know whut ta call a baby aigle...

Posted by: BillT at May 31, 2012 1:01 AM

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