The history of the octothorpe and more

Modern social networkers will recognize the octothrope as the opening character of a hashtag, but the lowly punctuation mark has a noble history. In his book, Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks, Keith Houston looks at punctuation marks' roots from Greek, Roman and 14th century texts.

The octothrope grew from characters first used in the 14th century as the abbreviation lb for the Latin libra pondo or “pound weight.” Scholars dashed the lb off quickly, leading the abbreviation eventually to become the hashed mark now known as the hashtag, pound sign, or octothorpe.

Houston discusses other forms of punctuation in the article.

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Well, someone had to do this, might as well be me! If you don't get the joke, ask your favorite computer geek.