Ampersand, A logogram representing the conjunction word "and".

The ampersand, also known as the and sign, is the logogram &, representing the conjunction "and". It originated as a ligature of the letters et—Latin for "and". Etymology The term ampersand is a corruption of and (&) per se and, which literally means "(the character) & by itself (is the word) and." The symbol & is derived from the ligature of ET or et, which is the Latin word for "and." Traditionally, when reciting the alphabet in English-speaking schools, any letter that could also be used as a word in itself ("A", "I", and, "O") was repeated with the Latin expression per se ("by itself"), as in "A per se A". It was also common practice to add the & sign at the end of the alphabet as if it were the 27th letter, pronounced as the Latin et or later in English as and. As a result, the recitation of the alphabet would end in "X, Y, Z, and per se and".
This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by its online user community. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.