After a lot of research and investigation, Tapoos brings you a variety of famous symbols, along with their meaning and origin. Check out the interesting details behind these symbols, which we are sure you never knew.
The Ampersand (“&”)
The symbol ampersand (&) has been derived from the Latin conjunction “et” which means “and” in English. Tiro was a personal secretary of Cicero from the Ancient Rome, and she was the one who invented this ligature. In order to speed up the writing process, an abbreviation system is known as “Tironian Notes” was invented by Tiro.
After many centuries, Europe and America were taken away by the popularity of ampersand and for a very long period of time, English alphabets were concluded by it. It was until the twentieth century that it started to diminish. The word ampersand actually means “and per se and” reflecting a contraction of phrase. Today, the symbol that we use is merged form of the letters “E” and “T”
The word ampersand is a corruption of the phrase “and per se & (and)”, meaning “and intrinsically the word and (represented by the symbol &)”.
Traditionally, when reciting the alphabet in English-speaking schools, any letter that could also be used as a word in itself (“A”, “I”, and, at one point, “O”) was repeated with the Latin expression per se (“by itself”). This habit was useful in spelling where a word or syllable was repeated after spelling; e.g. “d, o, g—dog” would be clear but simply saying “a—a” would be confusing without the clarifying “per se” added. 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 last phrase was routinely slurred to “ampersand” and the term had entered common English usage by 1837. However, in contrast to the 26 letters, the ampersand does not represent a speech sound—although other characters that were dropped from the English alphabet did, such as the Old English thorn, wynn, and eth.
Through popular etymology, it has been falsely claimed that André-Marie Ampère used the symbol in his widely read publications and that people began calling the new shape “Ampère’s and”.
The Heart Symbol
Loves is something which resides inside the heart, but despite that, the shape of the real heart is not something as the symbol depicts. There are few theories about how this symbol originated. In the middle of the lake when a swan couple approaches each other they make a sign which reflects something like a heart shape. People of different cultures along the world believe that birds represent loyalty, love, and devotion because once a pair of swan gets together they stay with each forever.
On the other hand, another hypothesis claims the heart shape to be the representation of feminine form. Those who supports the theory say that it is actually the female pelvis which this symbol depicts.
Another theory is that it is the ivy leaf which the symbol represents. The Greeks designed their pots using ivy leaves patterns and drawings of Dionysus – the god of passion and winemaking.
The Bluetooth Symbol
King Harald Blatand, ruled the Denmark in tenth century AD. He is a famous historical figure for making the Danish tribe. The King was often named as the “Bluetooth” because his love for blueberries and there was a permanent blue tint on one of his teeth.
The technology of Bluetooth has been designed for uniting more than one devices with a single connection or network. Two Scandinavian runes represent the symbol of this technology. These are “Hagall”, forming the Latin “H” analog and “Bjarkan” for the Latin “B.” These two initials have formed the name of Harald Blåtand. And the device color of first Bluetooth was blue and resembled the tooth shape.
The Medical Symbol
The medical symbol; a staff with wings and two snakes is known by everyone, but the interesting part is that it was implemented by mistake.
The theory states that Hermes (Greek God) possessed a mystic staff called Caduceus, which precisely looked just like this medical symbol. The fact is that Caduceus had no relation with medicine, he was meant for reconciling enemies and stopping disputes.
The truth how this symbol was adopted is that many many years back, the doctors of US military confused the symbol of Caduceus with Asclepius who is a Greek god of medicine and healing because they were similar looking. The mistake was understandable, but since then medicine is represented by this symbol.
The “Power On” Symbol
Nobody knows the orgins of power symbol. It was in 1940’s early period, that binary system was used by the engineers for the representation of certain switches. On was represented by 1 and 0 was for off. The power button in the coming years was something like zero and a vertical line featuring a zero and one.
The Peace Symbol
In 1958, during a protest against nuclear weapons this peace symbol was invented. The letters “N” and “D” semaphore signals have made the symbol and means “Nuclear Disarmament”
The letter “N” in this semaphore alphabet is communicated by the two flags in between as inverted ”V,” whereas letter “D” is shaped by one flag holding pointed upwards and the other in the downward direction, hence forming the peace symbol.
The “OK” Sign
The sign of OK is interpreted as “Okay” or “All right”. But this gesture is not perceived positively everywhere in the world. In France, the same sign denotes being called a null or zero to whoever been directed at. Where could have this gesture come from? There are several theories:
The sign is thought to be originated as a visual aid to the Old Kinderhook, NY’s abbreviation. It is the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, the 8th President of United States. In his election campaign, he used a code word which sounded something like his hometown’s first letters. “Old Kinderhook is O.K” was the slogan of his campaign, with a person on the poster showing the O.K symbol.
It is also said that the OK sign was originated by Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President, who when finalizing his decision used it. In a German context, he used to write, “All Correct” as “Oll Korrect” or just “OK.”
Another theory for the “OK” gesture believes that it’s nothing but a mudra. Mudra is a ritual sign in Hinduism and Buddhism. It represents learning and artworks of Buddha show him making this sign.