Do You Know What The Real Name For The Hashtag Symbol Is?

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Unsplash/Jan Baborak
Unsplash/Jan Baborak

The use of the hashtag symbol has grown exponentially in the last decade, as social media became a cultural norm. Blogger Chris Messina was the first to suggest the use of the hashtag on social media, in a 2007 tweet. In addition to Twitter, the hashtag has since carried over into other social media platforms, including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Some people are used to referring to the symbol as a “pound sign”, from hearing it over the telephone while calling information numbers. But did you know that the true name of the hashtag symbol is ‘octothorpe’? The Merriam-Webster dictionary notes that the ‘octo’ prefix is in reference to the eight points of the hashtag symbol. However, no one has officially defined what the ‘thorpe’ component derives from. The online dictionary also notes that it was used by telephone workers in the 1960s. Whatever the exact derivative of it may be, it’s highly unlikely that the name ‘octothorpe’ will make a comeback any time soon. We’ll just stick with ‘hashtag’, thanks.