My brother’s coworker calls the @ an “ampersank.” Whenever he gives his e-mail address over the phone, he says the first part, then “ampersank,” then before he can proceed he has to explain what an “ampersank” is. You know, the at sign. All of which adds up to a lot more syllables than an abbreviation is meant to require. Especially an abbreviation for a two-letter, one-syllable word.
Austin asked me if I’d ever heard of the “ampersank.” I had not. I couldn’t find it in dictionaries. So I asked my coworker Jon, who knows everything (convenient for me, that), who had not heard of it but directed me to an interesting article on Wikipedia, which, yesterday, included this passage:
Other names in English for the symbol include: about; ampersat; asperand (not to be confused with ampersand); ape; apothrope; arroba; arobase; cabbage; cat; cinnabun or cinnamon bun; commercial symbol; cyclone; each; mercantile symbol; schnable; scroll or scroll-a; snail; strudel; vortex; whirlpool or whorl. Some of these are based on specialized usage, others are visual descriptions, and atgry (plural atgrynge) is a recurring joke proposed on Usenet as the answer to a pair of longstanding linguistic riddles — the singular atgry is a fourth word that ends in gry, along with angry, hungry, and gry; and the plural atgrynge provides a word that rhymes with orange.
And Chip, just so you know, in Esperanto it’s called “ĉe-signo.”