Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ampersand

play
noun am·per·sand \ˈam-pər-ˌsand\

Simple Definition of ampersand

  • : a character & that is used for the word and

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ampersand

  1. :  a character typically & standing for the word and

Did You Know?

Despite appearances, the history of ampersand owes nothing to amp or sand. The familiar character & derives from a symbol that was used in place of the Latin word et, which also means "and." In the late Middle Ages, single letters used as words-words like I-were, when spelled, incorporated into a phrase that clarified that they were in fact individual words. For I the phrase was I per se, I, which in Latin means I by itself (is the word) I. In early lists of the alphabet, Z was followed by the symbol &, which was rendered & per se, and, meaning "& by itself (is the word) and." Over the years, that phrase (which when spoken aloud was pronounced "and per se and") was shortened by English speakers to ampersand.

Origin of ampersand

alteration of and (&) per se and, literally, (the character) & by itself (is the word) and


First Known Use: 1835


AMPERSAND Defined for Kids

ampersand

play
noun am·per·sand \ˈam-pər-ˌsand\

Definition of ampersand for Students

  1. :  a character & standing for the word and




Learn More about ampersand


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ampersand? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by propriety and good taste

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt oily maudlin angry
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ