May 6, 2002
1:56 PM   Subscribe

For the MonkeyLovers out there: A Natural History of the @ Sign (If you're Dutch, you may refer to this symbol as "apeklootje" or "little monkey's testicle")
posted by ColdChef (11 comments total)
Also: You may be interested in how monkeys sound to the citizens of the world.
posted by ColdChef at 1:58 PM on May 6, 2002

Oh, you are really pushing it now ... I don't even want to THINK about what Miguel will now assume he can get away with once he sees this.
posted by yhbc at 2:06 PM on May 6, 2002

I find it bizarre that so many different languages have arrived at a term related to 'monkey'. Monkey is definitely not the first thing I think of when I see the @ symbol...
posted by jnthnjng at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2002

I think I just found my new Mefi member name:

posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:20 PM on May 6, 2002

I think I just found my new nickname for my girlfriend:

The word in Slovene is "afna." Perhaps this is a loan word from German, where the mark is called, among other things, "affenschwanz" [monkey's tail]. 

There is a similar word in Slovenian, "afna" meaning "a woman who overdresses, applies too much make-up, etc."

posted by ColdChef at 2:38 PM on May 6, 2002

I maybe mistaken but I couldn't find anywhere on the page calling the symbol "each at" which I believe is what english grocers referred to the symbol as.
posted by Spoon at 3:22 PM on May 6, 2002

In Czech, @ is called zavinac (pronounced ZAHV-in-ach), meaning "rollmops," or pickled herring. Perhaps the shape suggests herring packed tightly in a jar!

I think he missed the point here. Rollmops are pickled herrings rolled up around a pickle and fastened with a toothpick. End-on they look very much like @.  
posted by liam at 3:51 PM on May 6, 2002

I have never, ever heard anyone in Holland refer to it as 'apeklootje'. The Dutch say 'apestaartje' (monkey tail).
posted by prolific at 4:09 PM on May 6, 2002

Monkeys? What monkeys? You'll find from the list that decent countries had already attributed meanings to the @ sign, long before - as in many centuries before - the Internet. It certainly was on my first Olivetti Lettera typewriter.

In Portugal and Spain it was an old unit of measurement(around 12 kilograms). So we say out loud "Matt arroba Metafilter ponto com" for

A lot of historians and conservatives protested at this appropriation, but to no avail.

dude, commish, yhbc, whatever can you mean?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:21 PM on May 6, 2002

Tangentially related, the story of the Octothorp, or #
posted by dhartung at 4:49 PM on May 6, 2002

Also tangential: In the hopes of both redeeming myself and of adding to the discussion in a meaningful way I'll just mention that, in case you didn't know, Ray Tomlinson was the first person to use the "@" symbol as part of the first email address, to send the first email message. He thought about his choice for all of 30 or 40 seconds, and thirty-one years later, we're still using it. I've seen the story several different places, but the linked story has a nice pic of Ray making the symbol he inadvertently made famous.

Nice post, ColdChef.

posted by yhbc at 6:39 PM on May 6, 2002

« Older This is your brain on Ecstasy(or An MDMA...   |   Delete, Baby, Delete. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments