So What Is Th@ Thing, Anyway?

Illustration by Roman Muradov

Excerpt from this article:

Wherever I have gone for my job — even in far-flung places like Kazakhstan or the United Arab Emirates or rural Bulgaria — I have been able to point to my iPhone, say “charger?” and get a sympathetic nod (and cable)…

The @ symbol, though, is on an island (or, perhaps more appropriately, in a zoo) by itself. The Poles use a word for it that means monkey. The Dutch call it a monkey’s tail. The Czechs call it a rolled-up fish filet. The Greeks call it a duckling.

In Hungarian, it is a worm. In Italian, it is a snail. In Ukrainian, it is a dog. In Taiwanese, it is a mouse. Meanwhile, in the United States, it’s technically known as the “commercial at.”

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