Thursday, April 28, 2016

What College Taught Me About the Ampersand

I'd always wondered how we ended up with the ampersand sign. I wondered who decided that squigly represented "and", and how it got to be used widespread. 
Really. It's just a random squiggly. 

And then I discovered the truth. All on my own! A later Google search confirmed, but I was pretty proud that I figured it out before Google searching! 

One day while playing with fonts for my business writing class assignment I saw a font with a different ampersand sign than normal. 

 I don't know if that is the exact font I found, but it's similar.

I took 3 semesters of Latin at the University of Arizona. In latin, the word for "and" is "et". Do you see the E and the T in there?! That was it. Suddenly I realized our modern ampersand was just a morphed cursive form of "et"!

I'm a nerd, but this made me super excited and I shared it with my Latin class the next day. I think maybe only one other kid acted interested. But that didn't dampen the excitement of what I'd discovered. 

So if you need a piece of random trivia to give out at the dinner table, this will do it! 

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