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National Ampersand Day

The ampersand—&—is a ligature of the letters "e" and "t"—et—which means "and" in Latin. It closely ties two items or ideas together. One of the main ways it is used in formal writing is in company names—think Johnson & Johnson or Boys & Girls Club of America. It is sometimes also used in formulas and computer code. Ampersands can be written using many variations of typography.

Into the nineteenth century, the ampersand was regularly included at the end of the alphabet, being viewed as the 27th letter. The name "ampersand" came from the recitation of the alphabet, which was ended by saying "and per se and." "Per se" means by itself, so the end of recitation meant "X, Y, Z, and, by itself, 'and.'" The "and per se and" eventually was slurred together to create the word ampersand.

Ampersands are celebrated today with National Ampersand Day. The day was created by Chaz DeSimone of AmperArt, who wanted to "acknowledge & applaud the ampersand." He chose September 8th as the holiday's date because he found that when using ampersands in various fonts he could spell out "September 8" using only ampersands.

How to Observe National Ampersand Day

Celebrate by using ampersands as much as possible! Use "&" instead of "and." You could even use "&" in places of syllables. For example, you could write "&roid" (Android) & "c&elabra" (candelabra) & "b&" (band). Take into account that the ampersand represents the letters "e" & "t," and design some new ampersands. No matter how you celebrate, post on social media using the hashtags #AmersandDay & #AmperArt.

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