At last, France has a name for the @ sign

By Time of article published Dec 9, 2002

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Paris - France officially gave a name to the "at" sign used in Internet addresses on Monday, dubbing it the "arobase" from an ancient Spanish measure that used the same symbol of the letter "a" surrounded by a circle.

Though universally used by French Internet users, the word "arobase" is a neologism and needed the imprimatur of the General Committee on Terminology which published its approval in the government's official bulletin.

According to the committee, the word "arobase" comes from "arrobe" - itself a derivative of the Arabic "ar-rub" meaning a quarter - which was an ancient Spanish and Portuguese unit of capacity and weight.

The committee, which five years ago failed to have the word "mel" adopted instead of email, also approved three other terms Monday: "anneau de site" for webring, "site" for website, and "portail" for portal. - Sapa-AFP

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