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commercial at

<character> "@". ASCII code 64. Common names: at sign, at, strudel. Rare: each, vortex, whorl, INTERCAL: whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape, cat, rose, cabbage, amphora. ITU-T: commercial at.

The @ sign is used in an electronic mail address to separate the local part from the hostname.

It is ironic that @ has become a trendy mark of Internet awareness since it is a very old symbol, derived from the latin preposition "ad" (at).

Giorgio Stabile, a professor of history in Rome, has traced the symbol back to the Italian Renaissance in a Roman mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on 1536-05-04.

In Dutch it is called "apestaartje" (little ape-tail), in German "affenschwanz" (ape tail). The French name is "arobase". In Spain and Portugal it denotes a weight of about 25 pounds, the weight and the symbol are called "arroba". Italians call it "chiocciola" (snail).

See @-party.

(2003-04-28)


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