The origin of the Ampersand

Ampersand through the years

A favourite in wedding invitations to join, typographically, a bride and groom, the ampersand’s curly, friendly nature makes it an adored symbol of many a type enthusiast.

But where did it come from?

Turns out it hales from a speedy scribe or two. The ampersand is what we call a ligature (when two letters are joined as a single symbol) of E and t, forming the Latin symbol ‘et’, which means ‘and’.

Writing cursively in the 1st century, scribes started to connect the ‘e’ and the ‘t’ to save time, with one letter flowing into the other. Over time, it evolved into the modern-day symbol ‘&’.

For a symbol originally created in the 1st century, it’s aged rather well, no?

File that away for your next trivia night.

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