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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 ( )

1865 wanted poster of John Wilkes Booth using index-fist character.

The symbol is a punctuation mark, called an index, manicule (from the Latin root 'manus' for 'hand') or fist. Though rare today, this symbol was in common use between the 12th and 18th centuries in the margins of books, and was formerly included in lists of standard punctuation marks. Its typical use is as a bullet-like symbol to direct the reader’s attention to important text, having roughly the same meaning as the word “attention” or “note”. Some encyclopedias use it in articles to cross-reference, as in other articles. It occasionally sees use in magazines and comic books to indicate to the reader that a story on the right-hand page continues onto the next.

It primarily fell out of favor because its complex design made it unfit for handwriting, and its wide size made it difficult to fit on a typewriter or on early, low-resolution, monospaced computer fonts. It was therefore not included in early forms of ASCII. It was, however, added to Unicode.

Other names for the symbol include printer's fist, bishop's fist, digit, manicule, mutton-fist and pointing hand (see Sherman, p. 10).

The mark is sometimes used in web designs to indicate an active or selected hyper link. In linguistics, the symbol is also often used in Optimality Theoretic tableaux to identify the winner in a candidate set. Many video games made in the 80s and 90s, primarily text-based adventure games, use an index as a cursor. It is also used in some web browsers such as dillo to indicate a hyperlink.

American Science Fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut used the Index as a form of margin on the first line of every paragraph in his novel Breakfast Of Champions. The literary effect of this was to create separation between each paragraph, reinforcing the stream of consciousness style nature of the text.

Unicode

There are six index symbols in Unicode.

  • Black left pointing index: U+261A
  • Black right pointing index: U+261B
  • White left pointing index: U+261C
  • White up pointing index: U+261D
  • White right pointing index: U+261E
  • White down pointing index: U+261F

In addition, the dingbat font Wingdings 2, found in all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 95, includes 16 forms of the index, and the original Wingdings font features four others (resembling the white Unicode indices).

External links

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