History of @ symbol

The origin of the symbol itself, one of the most graceful characters on the keyboard, is something of a mystery. One theory is that medieval monks, looking for shortcuts while copying manuscripts, converted the Latin word for “toward”—ad—to “a” with the back part of the “d” as a tail. Or it came from the French word for “at”—à—and scribes, striving for efficiency, swept the nib of the pen around the top and side. Or the symbol evolved from an abbreviation of “each at”—the “a” being encased by an “e.” The first documented use was in 1536, in a letter by Francesco Lapi, a Florentine merchant, who used @ to denote units of wine called amphorae, which were shipped in large clay jars.

With information from the Smithsonian Magazine, read the full information story in Smithsonian.org

Comes from the abbreviation of Invoice in Accounting: “at the rate of”.

Examples from other languages:

Español – Arroba

Catalán – Arrova

German – Arrobe or Klammeraffe (meaning spider monkey)

Francaise – Arobase

Dutch – Apenstaartje

Italiano – Chiocciola

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