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^

Punctuation

apostrophe ( ' )
brackets ( [ ], ( ), { }, ⟨ ⟩ )
colon ( : )
comma ( , )
dashes ( , , , )
ellipses ( , ... )
exclamation mark ( ! )
full stop/period ( . )
guillemets ( « » )
hyphen ( -, )
question mark ( ? )
quotation marks ( ‘ ’, “ ” )
semicolon ( ; )
slash/stroke ( / )
solidus ( )
Word dividers
spaces ( ) () () ( ) () () ()
interpunct ( · )
General typography
ampersand ( & )
at sign ( @ )
asterisk ( * )
backslash ( \ )
bullet ( )
caret ( ^ )
copyright symbol ( © )
currency generic: ( ¤ )
specific: ฿, ¢, $, , ƒ, , , , £, , ¥, , ,
daggers ( , )
degree ( ° )
ditto mark ( )
inverted exclamation mark ( ¡ )
inverted question mark ( ¿ )
number sign/pound/hash ( # )
numero sign ( )
ordinal indicator (º, ª)
percent (etc.) ( %, ‰, )
pilcrow ( )
prime ( )
registered trademark ( ® )
section sign ( § )
service mark ( )
sound recording copyright symbol ( )
tilde ( ~ )
trademark ( )
underscore/understrike ( _ )
vertical/broken bar, pipe ( |, ¦ )
Uncommon typography
asterism ( )
falsum ( )
index/fist ( )
therefore sign ( )
because sign ( )
interrobang ( )
irony mark/percontation point ( ؟ )
lozenge ( )
reference mark ( )
tie ( )

A caret (pronounced /ˈkærət/), informally called a hat, is the symbol ^ in ASCII and other character sets. Its Unicode code point is U+005E, and code 5Ehex in ASCII.

Contents

Uses and history

The caret was originally used, and continues to be, in handwritten form as a proofreading mark to indicate where a punctuation mark, word, or phrase should be inserted in a document. The term comes from the Latin caret, "it lacks", from 'carēre', to lack; to be separated from; to be free from. The caret symbol is written below the line of text for a line-level punctuation mark such as a comma, or above for a higher character such as an apostrophe; the material to be inserted may be placed inside the caret, in the margin, or above the line.

The caret is also found on some typewriters, where it is used to denote a circumflex in some languages, such as French and Portuguese.

In statistics, the caret is used to denote an estimator or an estimated value, as opposed to its theoretical counterpart. For example, in errors and residuals, a caret over the letter ε indicates an observable estimate (the residuals) of an unobservable quantity called ε (the statistical errors). It is read x-hat or x-roof, where x represents the character under the "hat".

In mathematics, a caret above a letter indicates a unit vector (a dimensionless vector with a magnitude of 1), or an operator. It can also signify exponentiation (3^5 for 35), where the usual superscript is not readily usable (as on some graphing calculators). In the notation of sets, a caret above an element signifies that the element was removed from the set. However this only holds true with numbers, letters cannot be raised to a power.

The caret has many uses in programming languages. It can signify exponentiation, the bitwise XOR operator, string concatenation, and control characters in caret notation, among other uses. In regular expressions, the caret is used to mark the beginning of a string, or the beginning of a line within that string (depending on the regular expression dialect and specified options); if it begins a character class, it indicates that the inverse of the class is to be matched. Pascal uses the caret when dereferencing pointers.

The command-line interpreter, cmd.exe, of Windows family of operating systems uses the caret to escape reserved characters.

Use of the caret for exponentiation can be traced back to ALGOL 60, which expressed the exponentiation operator as an upward-pointing arrow, intended to evoke the superscript notation common in mathematics. The up-arrow character was codified as character 5Ehex in the original 1963 version of the ASCII standard. The 1965 ECMA-6 standard replaced the up-arrow with the caret (and the left-arrow with the underscore). Two years later, the second revision of ASCII followed suit, partly due to the need for a circumflex as a diacritical mark in some languages.

In logic, an enlarged caret called a wedge symbol is used as a propositional operator to symbolize logical conjunction, otherwise known as an and (e.g., p\andq).

The caret is a registered service mark by HydraByte, Inc., for its web-based services.[citation needed]

Unicode terminology

In the Unicode standard, the caret symbol in common use is named circumflex accent. The Unicode character named caret is actually a different, much less common character, at code point U+2038: . Unicode also had a combining character named combining circumflex accent at code point U+0302; it is used to add a circumflex to another letter as a diacritical mark.

Other meanings

In new age uses, the < (less than) and > (greater than) symbols are commonly called carets. Ease of using "caret" rather than "less than" or "greater than" primarily comes from people seeking easier means to say what the symbol is actually called, so like its cousin, the ^, the greater than and less than symbols adopted the "caret" title.

In graphical user interface terminology, caret sometimes refers to a text insertion point indicator, often a blinking vertical bar. In this context, it may be used interchangeably with the word cursor.

In music notation, a caret placed above a note indicates marcato, a special form of emphasis or accent. In music for string instruments, a narrow inverted caret indicates that a note should be performed up-bow.

See also

References

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