The Pronunciation Guide

version 2.5


Space blank, ghost (NetHack)
! Exclamation point exclamation (mark), (ex)clam, excl, wow, hey, boing, bang, shout, yell, shriek, pling, factorial, ball-bat, smash, cuss, store, potion (NetHack), not (UNIX) (C), dammit (UNIX)
" Quotation mark (double) quote, dirk, literal mark, rabbit ears, double ping, double glitch, amulet (NetHack), web (NetHack), inverted commas
# Crosshatch pound, pound sign, number, number sign, sharp, octothorpe, hash, (garden) fence, crunch, mesh, hex, flash, grid, pig-pen, tictactoe, scratch (mark), (garden) gate, hak, oof, rake, sink (NetHack), corridor (NetHack), unequal, punch mark
$ Dollar Sign dollar, cash, currency symbol, buck, string, escape, ding, big-money, gold (NetHack), Sonne
% Percent Sign percent, mod (C), shift-5, double-oh-seven, grapes, food (NetHack)
& Ampersand and, amper, address (C), shift-7, andpersand, snowman, bitand (C), donald duck, daemon (NetHack), background (UNIX), pretzel
' Apostrophe (single) quote, tick, prime, irk, pop, spark, glitch, lurker above (NetHack)
* Asterisk star, splat, spider, aster, times, wildcard (UNIX), gear, dingle, (Nathan) Hale, bug, gem (NetHack), twinkle, funny button, pine cone, glob (UNIX)
() Parentheses parens, round brackets, bananas, ears, bowlegs
( Left Parenthesis (open) paren, so, wane, parenthesee, open, sad, tool (NetHack)
) Right Parenthesis already, wax, unparenthesee, close (paren), happy, thesis, weapon (NetHack)
+ Plus Sign plus, add, cross, and, intersection, door (NetHack), spellbook (NetHack)
, Comma tail, trapper (NetHack)
- Hyphen minus (sign), dash, dak, option, flag, negative (sign), worm, bithorpe
. Period dot, decimal (point), (radix) point, spot, full stop, put, floor (NetHack)
/ Slash stroke, virgule, solidus, slant, diagonal, over, slat, slak, across, compress, reduce, replicate, spare, divided-by, wand (NetHack), forward slash, shilling
: Colon two-spot, double dot, dots, chameleon (NetHack)
; Semicolon semi, hybrid, giant eel (NetHack), go-on
<>Angle Brackets angles, funnels, brokets, pointy brackets, widgets
< Less Than less, read from (UNIX), from (UNIX), in (UNIX), comesfrom (UNIX), crunch, sucks, left chevron, open pointy (brack[et]), bra, upstairs (NetHack), west, (left|open) widget
> Greater Than more, write to (UNIX), into/toward (UNIX), out (UNIX), gazinta (UNIX), zap, blows, right chevron, closing pointy (brack[et]), ket, downstairs (NetHack), east, (right|close) widget
= Equal Sign equal(s), gets, becomes, quadrathorpe, half-mesh, ring (NetHack)
? Question Mark question, query, whatmark, what, wildchar (UNIX), huh, ques, kwes, quiz, quark, hook, scroll (NetHack), interrogation point
@ At Sign at, each, vortex, whirl, whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape (tail), cat, snable-a, trunk-a, rose, cabbage, Mercantile symbol, strudel, fetch, shopkeeper (NetHack), human (NetHack), commercial-at, monkey (tail)
[] Brackets square brackets, U-turns, edged parentheses
[ Left Bracket bracket, bra, (left) square (brack[et]), opensquare, armor (NetHack)
] Right Bracket unbracket, ket, right square (brack[et]), unsquare, close, mimic (NetHack)
\ Backslash reversed virgule, bash, (back)slant, backwhack, backslat, escape (UNIX), backslak, bak, scan, expand, opulent throne (NetHack), slosh, slope, blash
^ Circumflex caret, carrot, (top)hat, cap, uphat, party hat, housetop, up arrow, control, boink, chevron, hiccup, power, to-the(-power), fang, sharkfin, and, xor (C), wok, trap (NetHack), pointer, pipe (UNIX), upper-than
_ Underscore underline, underbar, under, score, backarrow, flatworm, blank, chain (NetHack), gets, dash, sneak
` Grave (grave/acute) accent, backquote, left/open quote, backprime, unapostrophe, backspark, birk, blugle, backtick, push, backglitch, backping, execute, boulder (NetHack), rock (NetHack), blip
{} Braces curly braces, squiggly braces, curly brackets, squiggle brackets, Tuborgs, ponds, curly chevrons, squirrly braces, hitchcocks, chippendale brackets
{ Left Brace brace, curly, leftit, embrace, openbrace, begin (C), fountain (NetHack)
} Right Brace unbrace, uncurly, rytit, bracelet, close, end (C), a pool (NetHack)
| Vertical Bar pipe (UNIX), pipe to (UNIX), vertical line, broken line, bar, or (C), bitor (C), vert, v-bar, spike, to (UNIX), gazinta (UNIX), thru (UNIX), pipesinta (UNIX), tube, mark, whack, gutter, wall (NetHack)
~ Tilde twiddle, tilda, tildee, wave, squiggle, swung dash, approx, wiggle, enyay, home (UNIX), worm, not (C)
!? interrobang (one overlapped character)
*/ asterslash (C), times-div
/* slashterix (C), slashaster
:= becomes
<- gets
<< left-shift (C), double smaller
<> unequal
>> appends (UNIX), cat-astrophe, right-shift (C), double greater
-> arrow (C), pointer to (C), hiccup (C)
#! sh'bang, wallop
\!* bash-bang-splat
() nil
&& and (C), and-and (C), amper-amper, succeeds-then (UNIX)
|| or (C), or-or (C), fails-then (UNIX)
! bang comes from old card punch phenom where punching ! code made a loud noise; however, this pronunciation is used in the (non- computerized) publishing and typesetting industry in the U.S. too, so ...
Alternatively it could have come from comic books, where the words each character utters are shown in a "balloon" near that character's head. When one character shoots another, it is common to see a balloon pointing at the barrel of the gun to denote that the gun had been fired, not merely aimed. That balloon contained the word "!" -- hence, "!" == "Bang!"
! store from FORTH
! dammit as in "quit, dammit!" while exiting vi and hoping one hasn't clobbered a file too badly
# octothorpe from Bell System (orig. octalthorpe)
# unequal e.g. Modula-2
$ string from BASIC
$ escape from TOPS-10
$ Sonne In the socialist countries, they used and are using all kinds of IBM clones (hardware + software). It was a common practice just to rename everything (IBM 360 → ESER 1040, etc...).
Of course the "dollar" sign had to be renamed - it became the "international currency symbol" which looks like a circle with 4 rays spreading from it: ¤
Because it looks like a (small) shining sun, in the German Democratic Republic it was usually called "Sonne" (sun).
& donald duck from the Danish "Anders And", which means "Donald Duck"
* splat from DEC "spider" glyph
* Nathan Hale "I have but one asterisk for my country."
* funny button at Pacific Bell, * was referred to by employees as the "funny button", which did not please management at all when it became part of the corporate logo of Pacific Telesis, the holding company...
*/ times-div from FORTH
= quadrathorpe half an octothorpe
- bithorpe half a quadrathorpe (So what's a monothorpe?)
. put Victor Borge's Phonetic Punctuation which dates back to the middle 1950's
/ across APL
/ compress APL
/ reduce APL
/ replicate APL
/ shilling from the British currency symbol
:= becomes e.g. Pascal
; go-on Algol68
< left chevron from the military: worn vertically on the sleeve to signify rating
< bra from quantum mechanics
<> unequal e.g. Pascal
> right chevron see "< left chevron"
> ket from quantum mechanics
@ snable-a from Danish; may translate as "trunk-a"
@ trunk-a "trunk" = "elephant nose"
@ strudel as in Austrian apple cake
@ fetch from FORTH
\ scan APL
\ expand APL
^ and from formal logic
^ pointer from PASCAL
^ upper-than cf. > and <
_ gets some alternative representation of underscore resembles a backarrow
_ dash as distinct from '-' == minus
` execute from shell command substitution
{} Tuborgs from advertizing for well-known Danish beverage
{} curly chevr. see "< left chevron"
{} hitchcocks from the old Alfred Hitchcock show, with the stylized profile of the man
{} chippendale brackets after Chippendale chairs
| broken line EBCDIC has two vertical bars, one solid and one broken.
~ enyay from the Spanish n-tilde
() nil LISP


from (19 Nov 1995)