30 October 2010

& then there was an ampersand...

One of my most favourite words that I've discovered in the last couple of years is ampersand.
Having worked in the field of Gifted & Talented education [or G&T] as it was more often abbreviated to, I was always writing or typing this beautiful symbol.

Working with a myriad of educators, parents and students, the opportunity to educate others on what this symbol was called was regularly presented.
This most often occurred when I was sharing the url for our G&T website.
I'd have to make it clear that the joining word between the 'Gand the 'Twas an '&' not 'and' and that the symbol for this can be found on the '7' key.  I'd then get to share that this symbol was known as an ampersand.
Almost always someone would say "Really, I didn't know that it had a name!".

The explanation for what this symbol means and how it came to be is quite fascinating but a bit too long-winded for this post, so I'll do an abbreviated version and if you're interested head on over to Wikipedia for more.

Apparently the word ampersand is a blend of the phrase...

"and per se and"

...meaning "and [the symbol which] by itself [is] and".

It used to be added to the end of the alphabet so as young children sang their way through, they would recite 

"X, Y, Z and per se and."

This eventually became slurred to ampersand and became a commonly used term in 1837.  

So there you have it, the beautiful ampersand...

...isn't this image gorgeous?
You have to indulge me here as I couldn't contain myself to sharing it only once. It was painted by Katie Daisy who has THE most beautiful work for sale in her Etsy store, The Wheatfield.* and you may find that there are some extra ampersands scattered through her work too.

I wonder, are you an ampersand user or do you contain yourself to 'and' & 'an'?

This post is posted as part of Blogtoberfest....
...check in tomorrow for the finale!http://tinniegirl.blogspot.com/

* On a sidenote, I discovered Katie's work at Oh Joy! which is also truly gorgeous place to visit. 


  1. Gorgeous post. I now know that too!

    Have a lovely weekend xox

  2. I do like me an ampersand. Don't you hate it how linky lists never let you use one!? x

  3. Oh, Felicity! You've outdone yourself. I'm an ampersand fan from way back. There used to be a Sydney restaurant called that. And the image is just delightful - thanks for the tip. J x

  4. Hi Felicity thanks for stopping by you made my day :)) I am definetly an ampersand user & love the shape of the &, the pictures are just gorgeous that Katie has created. :))))

  5. The floral ampersand is very pretty. I knew the word but didn't know where it came from so really enjoyed the lesson. x

  6. Just beautiful images. I'm pleased to know the name of that symbol now. Thanks for educating us all Felicity.
    I have to admit I use that symbol a lot with handwriting, but rarely when typing.

  7. How fascinating that you work in gifted and talented education Felicity. It's an area I've been researching a little bit lately, as I try to nut out the little puzzle that is my beautiful daughter.

    I actually use the plus sign in place of the ampersand in my handwriting (which is no doubt dreadfully incorrect), but I do admire the ampersand for it's graphic beauty.

    Thank you for the little history lesson - the story about it being tacked on to the end of the alphabet song is fascinating!


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x