13.0064 octothorp

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 11 Jun 1999 17:16:35 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 64.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

From: Joel Neely <joel.neely@entpm4.prod.fedex.com> (38)
From: "James J. O'Donnell" <jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu> (7)
Subject: Octothorp (fwd)

From: "James J. O'Donnell" <jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu>

A question I posted four months ago comes home, to warm welcome.

Jim O'Donnell
Classics, U. of Penn

Regarding your message on the Humanist Discussion Group:

> 12.0441 'number sign', 'hash sign', but "octothorpe"??
> Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
> Wed, 17 Feb 1999 21:33:15 +0000 (BST)
> Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 21:30:32 +0000
> From: "James J. O'Donnell" <jod@ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
> >
> A colleague reports hearing the "pound sign" on keypads defined as
> "octothorpe". OED knows nothing of this, or I have it mis-spelled. Is
> this expression known?
> Jim O'Donnell

I believe you have a spelling error; drop the final "e".

The best citation I can give you is

_The_Elements_of_Typographic_Style_ (2d edition, 1996)
Robert Bringhurst
Hartley & Marks, Publishers
Point Roberts, WA; Vancouver, BC, Canada

on page 282


Otherwise known as the numeral sign. It has also been used as
a symbol for the pound avoirdupois, but this usage is now
archaic. In cartography, it is also a symbol for village: eight
fields around a central square, and this is the source of its
name. Octothorp means eight fields.

This sounds much more believable than some of the folk etymologies
I've seen on the Web, and Bringhurst is a recognized authority in
the field of typography.


PS: I'd appreciate your forwarding this to the Humanist Discussion
Group, as I am not a subscriber.

public class JoelNeely extends FedEx {                      //       (
  String  workEMail        = "joel'dot'neely'at'fedex.com"; //        )
  boolean speaksForCompany = false;                  }      //       (
// my $ok=($lang=~/^[pj][ea][rv][la]$/i)&&($os=~/.*u.*x/i); //     C[_]

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