We’ve all seen that funny, squiggly shape which is used instead of ‘and’, but did you know that it used to be a legitimate letter of the alphabet?
I have to admit I had never put much thought into that funny shaped symbol until someone started discussing their use in book titles.
It made me wonder where this strange looking symbol actually came from.
Where did the Ampersand come from?
According to the Blog Dictionary the ampersand was actually the 27th letter of the Alphabet.
Roman scribes linked the letters of the Latin word et (and) and pretty soon et was shortened to ‘&’ over 1,500 years ago.
Although the symbol can be traced back all those years its name came about from yet another type of abbreviation.
It started with school children
About one hundred years ago, school children reciting the Alphabet were required to end with “X, Y, Z and per se ‘and’”.
Per se meaning and or also.
Now, children being children they ran the words together quickly and, “and per se and” was blended together to create a new word, “Ampersand.”
Ampersands are now used in books, songs and business names.
I enjoy the thought of school children livening up their day by running the final words of the Alphabet together.