Which Joe gave his name to ‘sloppy joes’? We look at five interesting sandwiches and their lexical origins.
What is the name of the # symbol?
It has several names. The most common is probably hash. In North American English, it's sometimes called the pound sign and used as a symbol for pounds weight: this can be confusing for British people for whom a pound sign is £. It's also known as the number sign in North American English, in contexts such as go to question #2. In a musical context, the symbol is known as a sharp. The picturesque name octothorpe has also been introduced: it's said to have been invented by an employee of Bell Laboratories in the 1960s, in honour of the American athlete Jim Thorpe (with the octo- part deriving from the symbol's eight points). In the large form in which it appears on telephones it's sometimes called a square.
Recently, the hash sign has acquired a new role. On social networking sites such as Twitter, it's attached to keywords or phrases so as to identify messages on a particular topic (e.g. #volcano; #Iceland). These keywords or phrases are known as hashtags.
We take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.