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The @ sign: the history of the appearance of a character when writing an email address, and for what reason it is called “dog”

Many of the global network jargon have come into our lives. Such memes include cake, trabl, life hacking, trolling, and so on. However, among all common and popular Internet jargon in runet, the first place is occupied by the “dog”.

This icon, familiar to the entire Internet audience, has the official name – “commercial at”, and it looks like this: @. Online, it is used to designate an email address. It is used to separate the user name and host. Therefore, anyone who has ever visited a site has come across it. At the same time it is called in different countries in different ways:

Holland – monkey and tail, in the original apenstaartje;
Ukraine is a doggie;
Spain – arroba, which means the measure of weight;
Italy is a snail, the original word is chiocciola;
China – little mouse;
Denmark – elephant trunk and other names;
Germany – monkey tail or ear;
Israel – strudel.
This is only a small part of the names of the @ symbol in different countries, and in Russia it is a “dog” for most users. Despite fame, few people know why the “dog” is so called. A symbol is so called all the time when, for example, they dictate their email-address during a personal conversation or by telephone. All people have long been accustomed to this. Therefore, the other interlocutor understands everything and correctly records the voiced e-mail address.

The exception may be a foreigner who, most likely, will go into a stupor, unless he lives in Russia or constantly does not communicate with the Russian people. The whole thing is that the @ sign is called “dog” exclusively by Russian-speaking users. The history of the occurrence of this symbol in the addresses of electronic mailboxes and on the “clave” of a computer is also interesting. That is what I will discuss below.

Correct pronunciation of the @ sign
Almost always the Russians say the word “dog” when they dictate the address of their email box. It still represents the main official channel for contacts. Even a large number of instant messengers from different developers do not affect the popularity of email. Through e-mail, users often send official letters and exchange various media files, including photos and small videos.

When the e-mail address is transmitted by oral speech, it is at this point that the so-called problem appears, associated with the “dog.” However, it is absent at the time of writing email on paper or when transmitting it by SMS. The problem is that the word “dog” is in certain situations a curse. Therefore, many people have to think about his pronunciation. At the same time, some of them have a question: “why does the @ sign have such a name?”.

Why dog

To fully answer this question, it is necessary to sort everything out in order. So, the @ symbol is usually called the “dog.” A confirmation of this slang is the use of the word in television and in the press. However, the media is not always an exemplary example to imitate the expression of their thoughts and even behavior. Therefore, everyone needs to know how it is officially accepted to call the @ symbol so that, if necessary, you can quickly convey to the interlocutor what you have in mind if he, for example, is a foreigner.

At the official level, the @ sign correctly sounds like “et.” English-speaking users denote it by the word “at”. This is where the pronunciation comes from. Moreover, in English this word is a preposition. Translated into Russian, it can have different meanings. It directly depends on the constructed phrase. Therefore, in standard encodings the symbol “dog” is indicated as “commercial at”.

The English “at” in Russian means an indication of a location. However, it can still be used as a preposition, for example, “in”, “in”, “on”, and in some cases, this English word can be used as “about.” In connection with such a translation, the @ symbol was chosen to designate email addresses. And then it becomes all in its place. So, having an email address, for example,, it can be expanded into the following: user, whose name is 12751013, on the server.

However, we must return to the question: “why is at is commercial?”. Because one of the most meticulous accountants of the world, the British, when compiling accounting documentation, began to use the symbol @ as a contraction of the preposition “at” a few centuries ago. For example, 11 rolls of cloth @ 2000 rubles = 22000 rubles. In other words, 11 rolls of 2000 rub. will cost 22,000 rubles. That is why at is considered a commercial pretext.

Its use has become so common that with the invention of machines for printing on such devices, the @ symbol got its own place in the series of numbers and punctuation marks.