The Ampersand

The Ampersand

Created by the Ancient Romans, the ampersand made its debut on a wall in Pompeii. It  started out as a representation of the Latin word et, which translates to “and.” But the hard-to-write (seriously, try it) symbol didn’t receive its formal title of “ampersand” until the late 18th century when British schoolchildren began using it as the alphabet’s 27th letter after Z.

When children spoke the English alphabet, they added per se—a Latin phrase that translates to “by itself”—before letters that could be used as a word by itself, like A, and I.  This looked like “A as per se,” and “I as per se” and so on.

Eventually, the & symbol would appear at the end of the alphabet. So they pronounced, “…X, Y, Z, and per se and,” which morphed into “…X, Y, Z, ampersand” for faster pronunciation.

Source: Guest Blogger

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