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ampersand

[am-per-sand, am-per-sand]
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noun
  1. a character or symbol (& or ) for and: Smith & Jones, Inc.

Origin of ampersand

1820–30; contraction of and per se and literally, (the symbol) & by itself (stands for) and; see per se
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ampersand

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Never before, so far as I knew, had a camera been set up on Ampersand.

    Little Rivers

    Henry van Dyke

  • We landed on a sand beach at the mouth of a little stream, where a blazed tree marked the beginning of the Ampersand trail.

    Little Rivers

    Henry van Dyke

  • Ampersand, falling short by a thousand feet of the needful height, cannot claim this distinction.

    Little Rivers

    Henry van Dyke

  • In 1878, when I spent three weeks at Ampersand, the cabin was in ruins, and surrounded by an almost impenetrable growth of bushes.

    Little Rivers

    Henry van Dyke

  • I set my instrument for Ampersand Pond, sighted the picture through the ground glass, and measured the focus.

    Little Rivers

    Henry van Dyke


British Dictionary definitions for ampersand

ampersand

noun
  1. the character (&), meaning andJohn Brown & Co

Word Origin

C19: shortened from and per se and, that is, the symbol & by itself (represents) and
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ampersand

n.

1837, contraction of and per se and, meaning "(the character) '&' by itself is 'and' " (a hybrid phrase, partly in Latin, partly in English). The symbol is based on the Latin word et "and," and comes from an old Roman system of shorthand signs (ligatures), attested in Pompeiian graffiti, but not (as sometimes stated) from the Tironian Notes, which was a different form of shorthand, probably invented by Cicero's companion Marcus Tullius Tiro, which used a different symbol, something like a reversed capital gamma, to indicate et.

This Tironian symbol was maintained by some medieval scribes, including Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, who sprinkled their works with a symbol like a numeral 7 to indicate the word and. In old schoolbooks the ampersand was printed at the end of the alphabet and thus by 1880s had acquired a slang sense of "posterior, rear end, hindquarters."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ampersand in Culture

ampersand

[(am-puhr-sand)]

A symbol (see also symbol) for and (), as in Dun Bradstreet.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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