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Hashtag or Octothorp?

Word or symbol origins.

Personally, I’m interested in word origins. How did a word come to be, and what was the path to what it means today?

This brings us to the lowly symbol that is now pretty much universally called a “hashtag,” or in the old days (before the Internet), a “pound symbol.”

In reality, the # is really an octothorp, referring to its eight points. Read more here: “You’ll Never Guess the Real Name for a Hashtag.”

In the short article above there is a reference to an earlier use of the symbol, then called a “hatch mark.” This reminded me of a sergeant who worked for me in S-3 Training at 1-46 Infantry in Germany. I would give him some writing assignment and he would always ask, “What floormat do you want that in?” He of course was referring to “format,” but it is a good example of how “hatch mark” may have become “hash mark” over time.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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