Octothorpe

May 24, 2022

Octothorpe / noun / oc·​to·​thorpe

We use the word “octothorpe” as a noun in the English language. The word describes the familiar symbol many of us know from telephone keypads as the “pound” or ‘hash’ sign. Etymologists say they formed the word “octothorpe” by combining the word ‘octo’ and the surname ‘Thorpe.’ Octo” is a term that represents quantities of the number 8.

“Octothorpe” is a symbol represented by an eight-point series of crisscrossing parallel lines. These symbols go by a wide variety of different names, including “number signs, pound signs, hashtags, and hash marks. ” While the exact origin or date of entry into language remains cloudy, there are a wide variety of colorful stories surrounding the “octothorpe” and how it got its name.

In a Sentence

Today’s social media networks make use of “octothorps” as hashtags to tag related content.

Press the “octothorpe” symbol on your iPhone keypad to access customer support.

Younger generations aren’t familiar with the term “pound sign” which describes an ‘octothorpe.’

Synonym

Hashtag, Number Sign

Antonym

Minus Sign

Etymology

Although there is some speculation on the true origin of the word “octothorpe,” we believe the term “entered language as a telecommunications term in the United States around 1960. There have also been accounts that say “octothorpe” originated in Old English used to describe the word “village.”

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