Geek-speak names for punctuation marks

Written by Steven J. DeRose. Last updated November, 2002

This tables lists names used to refer more handily to puntuation marks. The English names are drawn from Tables 7 through 9 of ISO 646, an international character set standard.

MarkEnglish namesReal names
!Exclamation markbang
@Commercial at-signat, strudel
#Number sign (may show up as pounds sterling), Pound sign), octothorpehash, sharp, pound
$Dollar sign (may show up as the generic "Currency sign")dollar, ding
%Percent signmod, grapes
^Circumflexcaret, up
&Ampersandamp, and
*Asterisksplat
(Left parenthesisleft paren, open
)Right parenthesisright paren, close
[Left square bracketlbracket, lsquib
]Right square bracketrbracket, rsquib
{Left curly bracketlbrace
}Right curly bracketrbrace
/Solidus or forward slashslash
\Reverse solidusbackslash, slosh
<Less-than signlt
>Greater-than signgt
|Vertical linepipe, bar, or, or-bar, vbar
'Apostrophepop, s-quo
"Quotation markd-pop, d-quo
.Full stop, period, pointdot
,Commacomma
:Coloncolon
;Semicolonsemi
?Question markeh
+Plus signplus
-Hyphen, minus sign (in real typography these are not the same)dash
_Low line, underline, or underscoreunder, score, skid
=Equals signeq
~Tilde, overlinetwiddle
`Grave accentbackpop
wdouble-uwub

Thorough use of the shortest names can lead to interesting conversations, especially when writing Unix shell scripts.

See also the "Usenet ASCII pronunciation guide" and The Hackers Dictionary, available at various sites.