[ am-per-sand, am-per-sand ]
/ ˈæm pərˌsænd, ˌæm pərˈsænd /


a character or symbol (& or ) for and: Smith & Jones, Inc.

Nearby words

  1. ampere-hour,
  2. ampere-turn,
  3. amperian,
  4. amperometric,
  5. amperometric titration,
  6. amphetamine,
  7. amphi-,
  8. amphiaraus,
  9. amphiarthrosis,
  10. amphiaster

Origin of ampersand

1820–30; contraction of and per se and literally, (the symbol) & by itself (stands for) and; see per se Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ampersand

British Dictionary definitions for ampersand


/ (ˈæmpəˌsænd) /


the character (&), meaning andJohn Brown & Co

Word Origin for ampersand

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



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

Culture definitions for 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.