ASCII /as'kee/ N. [originally An Acronym (American Standard Code For Information Interchange) But Now Merely Conventional] The Predominant Character Set Encoding Of Present-day Computers.

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ASCII /as'kee/ n.

[originally an acronym (American
Standard Code for Information Interchange) but now merely
conventional] The predominant character set encoding of present-day
computers. The standard version uses 7 bits for each character,
whereas most earlier codes (including early drafts of of ASCII
prior to June 1961) used fewer. This change allowed the inclusion
of lowercase letters -- a major win -- but it did not
provide for accented letters or any other letterforms not used in
English (such as the German sharp-S
or the ae-ligature
which is a letter in, for example, Norwegian). It could be worse,
though. It could be much worse. See EBCDIC to understand
how. A history of ASCII and its ancestors is at

Computers are much pickier and less flexible about spelling than
humans; thus, hackers need to be very precise when talking about
characters, and have developed a considerable amount of verbal
shorthand for them. Every character has one or more names -- some
formal, some concise, some silly. Common jargon names for ASCII
characters are collected here. See also individual entries for
bang, excl, open, ques
splat, twiddle, and Yu-Shian

This list derives from revision 2.3 of the Usenet ASCII
pronunciation guide. Single characters are listed in ASCII order;
character pairs are sorted in by first member. For each character,
common names are given in rough order of popularity, followed by
names that are reported but rarely seen; official ANSI/CCITT names
are surrounded by brokets: <>. Square brackets mark the
particularly silly names introduced by INTERCAL. The
abbreviations "l/r" and "o/c" stand for left/right and
"open/close" respectively. Ordinary parentheticals provide some
usage information.

Common: bang; pling; excl; shriek; <exclamation mark>. Rare:
factorial; exclam; smash; cuss; boing; yell; wow; hey; wham; eureka;
[spark-spot]; soldier, control.

Common: double quote; quote. Rare: literal mark; double-glitch;
<quotation marks>; <dieresis>; dirk; [rabbit-ears]; double

Common: number sign; pound; pound sign; hash; sharp; crunch; hex;
[mesh]. Rare: grid; crosshatch; octothorpe; flash; <square>, pig-pen;
tictactoe; scratchmark; thud; thump; splat.

Common: dollar; <dollar sign>. Rare: currency symbol; buck; cash;
string (from BASIC); escape (when used as the echo of ASCII ESC);
ding; cache; [big money].