at sign ⇝
commercial atelectronic mail address to separate the local part from the hostname. This dates back to July 1972 when Ray Tomlinson was designing the first[?] e-mail program. It is ironic that @ has become a trendy mark of Internet awareness since it is a very old symbol, derived from the latin preposition "ad" (at). Giorgio Stabile, a professor of history in Rome, has traced the symbol back to the Italian Renaissance in a Roman mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on 1536-05-04. In Dutch it is called "apestaartje" (little ape-tail), in German "affenschwanz" (ape tail). The French name is "arobase". In Spain and Portugal it denotes a weight of about 25 pounds, the weight and the symbol are called "arroba". Italians call it "chiocciola" (snail). See @-party.
Last updated: 2003-04-28