Punctuation


Punctuation Etymologies
AmpersandFrom modern English, a corruption of "and per se". The etymology of "Emperor's Hand" is amusing, but apocryphal.

The symbol itself, "&", is thought to come from combining the letters of the Latin word for "and" ("et"). Aue's Raymond Wise has placed commentary discrediting this origin here.
ApostropheFrom the Greek for "of turning away", "elision".
ColonFrom the Greek word for "limb", "member".
CommaFrom the Greek for "piece cut off", derived from the Greek verb for "to strike".
Dollar SignFrom the German word for "valley", as a shortened reference to a silver mine and mint in "Joachim's Valley". The symbol itself, "$", is thought to be derived from "8" as in "pieces of eight".
Exclamation markFrom the Latin word for "to call out". The symbol itself, "!", is thought to come from the first and last letters of the Latin word for "joy" ("io") in the same manner as the question mark "?" was formed.
EllipsisFrom the Greek for "to come short", originally used in geometry.
ParenthesisFrom the Greek for "to put in beside", "to place".
PeriodFrom the Greek for "going round", "circuit", "revolution". Originally used to designate the cycle between the Olympic games.
Question markOriginally from the Latin for "to ask". The symbol itself, "?", is thought to be derived from the first and last letters of "quaestio".
Quotation markOriginally from the Latin for "to mark the number of" (related to "quota").

Further researchThose interested in further research are invited to search the net with such terms as "Geofroy Tory", "Marcus Tiro", "William Mason", "Donald Anderson", "Richard Firmage", and "William Walsh".

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