Social Question

TheRealOldHippie's avatar

OK Everyone, When Did These Symbols Change? And WHY?

Asked by TheRealOldHippie (1647 points ) May 18th, 2014

Remember when # meant “Number?” As in #10? Or if you placed it elsewhere, it meant Pound (or Pounds), as in 10# of potatoes. Now, its suddenly something called a “Hashtag” for all the twits in the world who Tweeter or whatever the hell it’s called. So now you get #10@10# perhaps? What is a hashtag? I know what a number is…..know what a pound is, but where can I go to buy a hashtag of something or the other? This is vitally important, my life won’t be complete until I have a hashtag standing in the corner, or sitting there, collecting dust.

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25 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

# meant pounds?

ucme's avatar

#storminateacup #letitgo #sarcasticbastard

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. At one time it meant either “pound” or “number,” depending on how it was used @ragingloli.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I still want my word back that used to mean happy and carefree, i.e. GAY.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t see too many girls named Gay any more, do we!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I remember when automated phone systems started asking people to use “the pound sign.” I was completely mystified, because in this country, the pound sign is £. You know, where we got the abbreviation “lbs” from. Duh. But that never appears on a phone numberpad! I have no idea why anyone uses # to indicate pounds. It seems to be an American thing. Bizarre.

Hashtag, in contrast, actually makes sense. It is a hash mark, and it is used to tag specific words or ideas so that they can be looked up.

Mariah's avatar

Pretty sure the hashtag phenomenon started with Twitter.

ragingloli's avatar

@dappled_leaves
and ‘lbs’ is actually wrong

Dutchess_III's avatar

‘Lbs” is short for ‘pounds.’ Not sure why since there is no L or B in the word, but it is.

ragingloli's avatar

‘lb’ is short for pounds. ‘lbs’ is wrong

Dutchess_III's avatar

In ‘Murika we’ve always abbreviated it as “lbs”

ragingloli's avatar

well, it would not be the first time you colonials do something wrong.

ucme's avatar

I thought he was on about Irritable Bowel Syndrome…no shit.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ragingloli I called it an abbreviation, not a unit. As a unit, yes it could only be “lb.” But I would never use it as a unit, since we’re on the metric system here. Hate to embrace the Imperial system, as the Americans do.

ragingloli's avatar

@dappled_leaves
It is wrong as an abbrevation, too, because ‘lb’ is derived from the latin ‘libra’, scales, the plural of which is librae. no plural ‘s’ anywhere.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@ragingloli means it would not be the first time you colonials improved on the idiocy of the old world ideas.

bolwerk's avatar

Hashes have meant lots of things in computing over the years. They delineate comments in some programming languages. IRC uses them to delineate global channels (“chat rooms”).

“Hashtag” is something specific to Twitter and now some other networks for categorizing posts (“tweets”).

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ragingloli I’ll be sure to remember that the next time I’m writing in Latin.

cookieman's avatar

Ahh, when Coke was a soda and a joint was a bad place to be.

ibstubro's avatar

When @cookieman, were juke joints bad places to be?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

# will always be “immediate” in assembly to me.

cookieman's avatar

@ibstubro: That phrase is on the wall of a bbq place I go to. This thread made me think of it.

Brian1946's avatar

The telecommunications term for # became octothorpe in 1968.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Brian1946 And it will be “sharp” in my head.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@TheRealOldHippie “Hash” is what the # symbol is called in most places other than the United States. So if you’re asking when the symbol changed, the answer is “when Americans decided they could call them whatever they wanted.” You can read a lot more about the nuances and different names here, but the short version is this: the symbol has long been used in a variety of ways and known by a variety of names. This is not something new that can be blamed on “kids these days.”

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