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Pilcrow: Wikis


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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 ( )

The pilcrow (¶; Unicode U+00B6, HTML entity ¶), also called the paragraph mark, paragraph sign, paraph, or alinea (Latin: a linea, "off the line"), is a typographical character commonly used to denote individual paragraphs.

The pilcrow can be used as an indent for separate paragraphs or to designate a new paragraph in one long piece of copy, as Eric Gill did in his 1930s book, An Essay on Typography. The pilcrow was used in the Middle Ages to mark a new train of thought, before the convention of physically discrete paragraphs was commonplace.

The pilcrow is usually drawn like a backwards letter P reaching to capital letter or ascender height. It may also be drawn with the bowl stretching further downwards, resembling a backwards D; this is more often seen in older printing.


History and etymology

Possible development from capitulum to contemporary paragraph symbol.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word pilcrow "apparently" originated in English as an unattested version of the French pelagraphe, a corruption of paragraph; the earliest reference is c.1440.

Another derivation suggested is pilcrow originating as a letter C, for capitulum, "chapter" in Latin. In this account, the pilcrow is the paraph symbol that replaced the paragraphos, which was marked with different symbols, including the section sign. Moreover, the paraph also could be marked with a full-height, cents-like sign or with a double slash, originally symbols indicating a note from the scribe to the rubricator.[1]

Contemporary use

The pilcrow had been used in desktop publishing software such as a desktop word processors and page layout programs to mark the presence of a carriage return control character at the end of a paragraph. It is also used as the icon on a class of toolbar button which shows or hides the pilcrow and similar "hidden characters", including tabs, whitespace, and page breaks. In typing programs, it is used to mark a return that one needs to type.

In legal writing, it is used whenever one must reference a specific paragraph within pleadings, law review articles, statutes, or other legal documents and materials.

In academic writing, it is sometimes used as an in-text referencing tool to make reference to a specific paragraph from a document that does not contain page numbers. It is most commonly used to refer to a paragraph in an HTML page, allowing the reader to find where that particular idea or statistic was sourced. Convention states that the pilcrow sign followed by a number indicates the paragraph number from the top of the page. It is rarely used when citing books or journal articles.

In proofreading, it is used to indicate that one paragraph should be split into two or more separate paragraphs; the pilcrow is inserted at the point at which a new paragraph should begin.

Online, it is used in some blogs and wikis to denote permalinks[2] (cf. Purple Numbers).

In Unicode, the character is called PILCROW SIGN, and has codepoint U+00B6. The HTML entity for it is ¶.

The pilcrow character can be added as a visible, printable character on the Windows operating system using the shortcut alt + 0182. Depending on the font used, this character will have varied appearance, and in some cases, may be replaced by an alternate glyph entirely.

On a Mac OS computer the pilcrow character can be generated by typing Option + 7.

Paragraph signs in non-Latin writing systems

In Chinese, the traditional paragraph sign (rendered as 〇) is a thin circle about the same size as a Chinese character. This same mark also serves as a “zero” character, as a stylistic variation of the Chinese character for “zero”. As a paragraph sign, this mark only appears in older books, commonly found in the Chinese Union Version of the Bible. Its current use is generally as a “zero” character.

In Thai, the character ๛ (Unicode U+0E5B, Thai character Khomut) can be used to mark the end of a chapter or document.

In Sanskrit and other Indian languages in ancient time the things were written in stanzas. Two bars || represented Pilcrow

Reversed pilcrow

In Unicode there is also a codepoint (U+204B) for the reversed pilcrow sign, ⁋

See also


  1. ^ Parkes, M.B. Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West. ISBN 0-520-07941-8.
  2. ^ ongoing — Purple Pilcrows

External links



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