My Quiet Obsession of the Ampersand

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Science
Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Ampersand

The ampersand

This is correct. I enjoy using the ampersand. I would use it all the time if it were socially acceptable in the world of literature (or is it?)

Ampersand Origin

If you think about it, where did it come from?

I did a little research and found out that the ampersand is a symbol that stands for the word “and”…but you probably already knew that. What you probably don’t know is that it stood for the word or symbol “et”. That’s what they used in the Roman days. So instead of using “et”, scholars and other intelligent scribes used “&” (the ampersand).
Here’s a few other interesting facts about the ampersand:

  • Traced back to the 1st century A.D.
  • Once was considered the 27th letter of the English alphabet
  • There are 6 different variations of the ampersand

Dating back to the Roman days, the ampersand was used quite extensively. It eventually wore off, maybe because it contained a little too much “classical antiquity” for the common man. However, it is still used in business letterheads, slogans and other forms of advertisement just for that reason.
In fact, it’s still commonly used in firms and partnerships (particulary in law firms and architectural firms).

The ampersand is also commonly used when addressing a couple at banquets, weddings and other formal gatherings. For example: MR. & MRS. JOHN SMITH or JOHN & JANE SMITH You will also notice the ampersand in book and movie titles.

Like what was said earlier in this little article, the abbreviation for “and” was written as “et” back in the Roman days. And when somebody wanted to use the abbreviation for “et cetra” people would write “etc.”. But what a lot of people don’t know (and if they did, they probably still wouldn’t do so) is that another abbreviation for “et cetra” could be written as “&c.”.

“Et cetra”, as you know, means “and so forth”…right? Here’s the formula for “&c.”:
&=et (and)
c.=cetra (so forth)

There you have it, a brief history and a little depth of my quiet obsession of the ampersand.


I even make Ampersand cake; I may need help!

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