A New York Times article points out that many languages have creative names for the @ symbol. The Dutch refer to it as a monkey’s tail. For Italians, it’s a snail. But in boring old English, we just say “at”. Let’s get creative.
The Times piece discusses how many English internet terms have become increasingly universal, like hashtag and Wi-Fi. But when it comes to the little circular squiggle that’s crucial for email addresses and tagging on social media, “@” has a range of descriptive terms across the linguistic spectrum:
The Poles use a word for it that means monkey. The Dutch call it a monkey’s tail. The Czechs call it a rolled-up fish filet. The Greeks call it a duckling. In Hungarian, it is a worm. In Italian, it is a snail. In Ukrainian, it is a dog. In Taiwanese, it is a mouse. Meanwhile, in the United States, it’s technically known as the “commercial at.”
Boring! Surely we can come up with a better moniker. I always think of flowers when I see an @, because of ASCII flowers from the pre-emoji era like this rose: @}-,-`-. So I’m going to go with flower. Take that, Czech rolled-up fish filet.
What’ve you got?
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