How perform we currently use the # symbol?

On Twitter, Facebook, and also Instagram, you tag your friends via the
symbol and also you tag topics with the #. If you see somepoint that states “#WordoftheDay,” the tweet or article has actually something to carry out with Word of the Day. And, once you click on that marked topic, you’ll most likely watch all public articles around it. It’s a great tool for finding world who are talking about a certain subject (and also for categorizing photos of your wonderful pet). But, what perform we contact the # symbol? And, where did it come from? Some of its names are prevalent . . . some not so much.

You are watching: A statement that starts with a hashtag (or pound) symbol (#) is called a

What is the # symbol called?

1: The pound sign. This name happened because the symbol originates from the abbreviation for weight, lb, or libra ponexecute, literally “pound by weight,” in Latin. When creating “lb,” scribes regularly crossed the letters with a line throughout the height, favor a t.


2: The number sign. This phrase occurred in Britain because pound sign can easily be confused via the British currency. And of course, the # symbol is occasionally spoken as the word “number,” as in “#2 pencil.”

3: The hashtag. The word hash predates these various other names (yet wasn’t very well-known until recently). A hash has actually referred to stripes on army jackets since as at an early stage as 1910. But, in the 1980s, people started using hash to refer to the # symbol. Due to the fact that the climb of social media and its new prestige in day-to-day life, hashtag has come to be the favored name.

See more: What Does Keep Your Eyes Peeled Mean, Origin Of The Phrase “Keep Your Eyes Peeled”

4: The octothorpe. It’s the official name for the # symbol, but what does it mean? It’s actually a made-up word, invented in the same laboratories where the telephone came from. The researchers at Bell Laboratories modified the telephone keypad in the beforehand 1960s and added the # symbol to send instructions to the telephone operating device. Due to the fact that the # symbol didn’t have actually a name, the technicians believed one up. They kbrand-new it have to be called octo- somepoint because it had actually eight ends around the edge. What occurred next is not entirely clear. According to one report, Bell Lab employee Don MacPherkid called it after the Olympian Jim Thorpe. Anvarious other previous employee claims it was a nonsense word, expected as a joke. Another unverifiable report is a lot even more etymologically satisfying: The Old Norse word thorpe expected “farm or area,” so octothorpe literally means “eight areas.”

How else has actually the # symbol been used?

Similar signs appear in many type of other places. Musicians identify # as the sharp symbol, denoting a note one fifty percent step higher. Copy editors check out a symbol meaning “area,” as in “add a space in between two sentences.” In computer code, the # symbol suggests that whatever that follows is only comment, not instruction.

Such a tiny symbol via such a large amount of definition . . . what other names will certainly the future hold for the resilient #?