| The "#" mean "sharp" in music, so it is occasionally referred to as the "sharp
| sign". It's also in use in North America (and elsewhere) as the "pound" symbol
| (unit of weight rather than money), whence the English name in telephony
| systems. However the actual usage as an abbreviation of "pounds" is rather
| obscure to most speakers of English, since it is usually used to mean "number"
| (and the equally non-intuitive outside the culture "lbs." means "pounds")...
It used to be very familiar, in England anyway, before metrication, in
street markets selling fruit and vegetables by the pound. A sign like
tomatoes 5/- for 1lb
especially when hurriedly writen with chalk on a market stall, say, suffers
from ambiguity: one pound or eleven 'b' (whatever they might be)?
So the abbreviation 'lb' was often "crossed", something like this,
| | |
and other intermediate forms between 'lb' and '#' were also common.
(Also, the mark '/', meaning 'shilling' in 5/- (5 shillings and no
pence) is historically an elongated 's'. Maybe I should submit a proposal
that '/' be deleted from Unicode, as it is just a glyph variant of 's'? :-)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:43 EDT