from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun At the rate of; per.
  • noun computing The symbol used as a separator between a username and a domain name in an e-mail address ("at" the domain name).
  • noun computing, IRC The most common choice of configurable prefix symbol to identify a channel operator.
  • noun Internet Prepended to the name of the user to whom a remark is addressed.
  • preposition at a rate of (so much each)
  • preposition informal, neologism at (any sense)
  • preposition text messaging Replacing the sounding /æt/ on any word that has this pronunciation or similar.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A cursive variation of ᾱ or ᾱᾱ, the abbreviation of Greek ανα (ana) used in recipes and prescriptions with the meaning "of each", and later extended to accounting. (Other explanations have that it is ā, an abbreviation of Latin ad ("to"), or French à ("to").)


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  • The @, or arroba: a traditional unit of weight in Spain and Portugal, equal to 1/4 quintal. However, the Spanish and Portuguese quintals are of different sizes. In Spain, the arroba equals 25.36 pounds (11.50 kilograms); arrobas of very similar sizes were established in the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. In Portugal and Brazil, the arroba traditionally equals 32.38 pounds (14.69 kilograms, but in recent years this has been "metrized" to be exactly 15 kilograms). The arroba has also been used as a metric unit equal to exactly 15 kilograms. The name of the unit comes from ar rub', Arabic for "the quarter." The @ sign has been used in Spanish as a symbol for the arroba since the sixteenth century at least.

    January 20, 2008

  • You're saying, then, that that @, from the Arab ar rub', is a quarter quintal?

    January 21, 2008

  • Yes. Though there is a fair amount of variation in the definition of a quintal - there were regional variations (between countries) back in the 'olden days' (note deliberate vagueness); nowadays there seems to be a metric version as well, generally bigger than the traditional one.

    arroba is, of course, also just Spanish for the @ sign.

    January 21, 2008

  • Fascinating; thanks!

    January 21, 2008

  • arobase in French, see le petit escargot

    March 22, 2009

  • BBC magazine just had an article of the history of the at sign.

    March 8, 2016