At tag (@)

What is a At tag (@) ?

The @ symbol is used in email, but it is now also being used to tag users in messages on social networking websites. Both Twitter and Facebook use the @ tag.

The most accepted term, even in many other languages, is to call it the at sign. But there are dozens of different words used to describe it.

A Little Back Ground

Before it became the standard symbol for e-mail, the @ symbol was typically used to indicate the cost or weight of something. For example, if you bought five apples for $1.25 each, you might write it as 5 apples @ $1.25 ea. It is still used in this manner on a variety of forms and invoices around the world.

The origin of the @ symbol was used as an abbreviation for the word amphora. It was the unit of measurement used to determine the amount held by the large terra cotta jars that were used to ship grain, spices and wine. Giorgio Stabile, an Italian scholar, discovered this use of the @ symbol in a letter written in 1536 by a Florentine trader named Francesco Lapi. It seems likely that some industrious trader saw the @ symbol in a book transcribed by monks using the symbol and appropriated it for use as the amphora abbreviation. This would also explain why it became common to use the symbol in relation to quantities of something.


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