interrobang

noun

in·​ter·​ro·​bang in-ˈter-ə-ˌbaŋ How to pronounce interrobang (audio)
: a punctuation mark ‽ designed for use especially at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question

Did you know?

Most punctuation marks have been around for centuries, but not the interrobang: it's a product of the 1960s. The mark gets its name from the punctuation that it is intended to combine. Interro is from "interrogation point," the technical name for the question mark, and bang is printers' slang for the exclamation point. The interrobang is not commonly used-its absence from standard keyboards can explain its paucity in print perhaps just as well as its paucity in print can explain its absence from standard keyboards. Most writers who want to communicate what the interrobang communicates continue to do as they did before the advent of the mark, throwing in !? or ?! as they feel so moved.

Word History

Etymology

interrogation (point) + bang (printers' slang for exclamation point)

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of interrobang was in 1962

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near interrobang

Cite this Entry

“Interrobang.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interrobang. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!