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The Octothorpe Options
Daemon
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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The Octothorpe

In the US, it is most frequently called a pound or number sign. In the UK, it is called a hash. Elsewhere, it is referred to as a hex. Desiring an unambiguous name for the now-ubiquitous key, phone engineers coined the word "octothorpe" in the 1960s, but it never gained wide usage. "Octo" refers to the symbol's eight arms, but the origin of "thorpe" is less clear. One theory is that it is a reference to the symbol's resemblance to a village surrounded by fields. Why is it called a pound sign? More...
mailady
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 7:13:25 AM
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When I was young I was taught to call this a number sign. I haven't heard it called that in a very long time. It is always pound sign.
Anktsunamunh
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 12:43:16 PM
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In México we call it "gato" (cat), because it's the same symbol used as the starting point to play Tic-tac-toe, which in México is also called "gato".
thar
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 2:26:32 PM

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since twitter calls it the hashtag, I assumed everyone, especially the US, called it hash!
rogermue
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:22:44 PM

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It took me some time to find out that this thread is on

the sign #

which mostly is called 'number sign'.

Interesting how many different names are used in different parts of the world for this sign.

Though TFD-artice points out that in Great Britain the name 'hash-sign' is used the article does not make clear where this name comes from.

I don't know it either, but probably it is the French name for the letter H
(in English /eitsh/ - in French /ash/. As the French word is spelled 'hache
it is highly probable that that is the origin of the name 'hash-sign'. The number sign is really similar to the letter-sign H (the only difference is that in the number sign there are two horizontal strokes instead of one.
thar
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:18:10 PM

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I always assumed (when the topic came up repeatedly on the long nights around the fire..ie never!) that it came from 'hatching':


[image not available]


but where the 'hatching' comes from - the old Germanic gate or the old French axe cutting...

Quote:
hatch (n.)
"opening," O.E. hæc (gen. hæcce) "fence, grating, gate," from P.Gmc. *hak- (cf. M.H.G. heck, Du. hek "fence, gate"). This apparently is the source of many of the Hatcher surnames; "one who lives near a gate." Sense of "plank opening in ship's deck" is first recorded mid-13c. Drinking phrase down the hatch first recorded 1931.

hatch (v.2)
"engrave, draw fine parallel lines," late 14c., from O.Fr. hachier "chop up, hack" (14c.), from hache "ax" (see hatchet). Related: Hatched; hatching. The noun meaning "an engraved line or stroke" is from 1650s.
chuckc4th
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:50:13 PM
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At work we call it hash or sharp (even though I know the difference between the two) and I refer to it as pound or number symbol in non-work circles. Interestingly several keyboard symbols have different names depending on environment (work/non-work). At work though we often default to the shortest name.

Outside work 'number' or 'pound', at work 'hash' - #
Outside work 'period' or 'full stop', at work 'dot' - .
Outside work 'exclamation point', at work 'bang' - !
Outside work 'vertical bar', at work 'pipe' - |
Outside work 'asterisk' or 'star', at work 'splat' - *
Presumably the derivation of this was it looks like someone who jumped from a high building, two arms, two legs and the contents of their bowels which squirted out top and bottom when they hit.
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