National Ampersand Day

The ampersand is that strange curly symbol often used in place of the word “and” in logos and in places where a person writing a sentence is trying to save some time. Although most people give very little thought to this symbol, it’s actually a symbol that has a long and storied history.

It’s also a symbol that has its own holiday—a holiday that’s observed annually on September 8th and is known as National Ampersand Day. We think it’s the perfect day for people everywhere to celebrate, even if you don’t fancy yourself as a language nerd.

The History of National Ampersand Day

National Ampersand Day was invented by Chaz DeSimone, the founder of Amper Art, in 2015. For those of you who don’t know, Amper Art is a website that was founded four years before the creation of this holiday to showcase ampersand art posters that Chaz DeSimone has created.

The History of the Ampersand

The ampersand represents the conjunction “and.” This symbol is a logogram and began as a ligature of the letters “et,” Latin for the word “and.” It was a symbol that went back thousands of years but first shows up in English during the late 18th century.

During the late Middle Ages, single letters that were not only letters but could also function as words, such as “A” and “I,” were referred to as letters by using the phrase “per se.” That phrase was used to clarify that the letter was being used in that context and not as the word.

For example, if someone wanted to refer just to the letter “I” and not the word “I,” then they would say “I per se, I.” This means in Latin “I by itself.” When the 27th letter of the English alphabet was added, “&” would be referred to as “& per se, and.” That meant “& by itself, means and.” Eventually, that evolved into the word we now use, ampersand.

Some Fascinating Facts About the Ampersand

Can’t get enough of the ampersand? If you can’t, then you’ve come to the right place because we’ve found some fascinating ampersand trivia that people can feel free to throw around on National Ampersand Day. The following facts will help to enlighten everyone about this interesting symbol.

  • The symbol “&” has been around for more than 1,500 years.
  • The ampersand originally meant “et” or “and” in Latin.
  • The ampersand was actually a part of the English alphabet during the early 19th century. It was the last letter in the alphabet.
  • The ampersand is both a ligature and a logogram.
  • It’s believed that the first ampersand was created by Marcus Tullius Tiro.
  • The ampersand is a commonly used special character for people’s passwords.
  • A lot of companies and brands use ampersands in their names and/or logos.
  • Companies that currently use an ampersand include Ben & Jerry’s, M&M, Smith & Wesson, A&E, AT&T, and Barnes & Noble.

Observing National Ampersand Day

If you want to observe this holiday, then you can make sure that you use ampersands in whatever you write, or you can create logos using a flamboyantly designed ampersand. You can also use the hashtag #NationalAmpersandDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
September 8 Sunday
Next year (2025)
September 8 Monday
Last year (2023)
September 8 Friday
Education & Reading