From Pine View Farm

@ 2

“No, no — it’s strudel , that little A sign,” he says. “I think you call it ‘at’?”

Of course. With a little imagination, I could see that a slice of strudel resembles the @ sign that separates user name from host in e-mail addresses. “Strudel!” I hoot. Winkie, agreeing that it’s funny, later sends me a list of words that people in other countries have used for the @ symbol — most of them a lot more entertaining (if less efficient) than our simple “at.”

Interesting little reflection in today’s Washington Post on the different ways speakers of different languages interpret the @ in “Somebody at somewhere dot com.”



  1. Opie

    October 2, 2005 at 5:07 pm

    Great article – I eat that kind of trivia up.

    I used to work with an electronic tech who took a perverse delight in referring nonchalantly to the # as the “octothorpe.” He’d say things like, “To make an announcement over the PA system, pick up any phone and press the octothorpe.” I don’t know what ever happened to him, but such people usually get what they deserve.

    At least I do when I’m that way. 🙂

  2. Frank

    October 2, 2005 at 7:36 pm

    Yeah, I remember hearing it referred to as an “octothorpe.” A term that deserved to die.

    What I wonder sometimes is when did it change from being the number sign to being the pound sign in the US English?

    And it does kind of look like a little strudel (or what my grandmother used to call an “apple sticky”).