Home > Programming > A short word on nomenclature

A short word on nomenclature

February 26th, 2011

These symbols have accepted names (in the context of programming):

  • [ ] These are opening and closing brackets. They are square, so are sometimes called square brackets.
  • { } These are opening and closing braces. You could call them curly braces, but there’s no need.
  • ( ) Theses are parentheses. One is a parenthesis. If those are a bit of a mouth- or keyboardful, call them parens. Don’t call them brackets or I’ll destroy your keyboard.
  • ~ This is a tilde.
  • | This is a pipe.

These symbols have multiple accepted names.

  • # I call this a hash because I’m British. Americans call it a pound sign. Pedants call it an octothorpe.
  • * Asterisk, star, splat. Definitely not an “asterix”.
  • ! Exclamation mark/point, bang.
  • < > Less-than and greater-than, but may also be called angle brackets.
  • . Full-stop, period, dot.
  • ? Question mark, query.
Categories: Programming Tags:
  1. February 26th, 2011 at 15:14 | #1

    I’ve never heard “full-stop” in a programming context, and “splat” might be Ruby-specific, but the rest are spot on. I’d also like to add:

    / – slash \ – backslash

    And finally…

    ?! – quizbang (most often seen in IE-related comments, preceded by “wtf” or “omgwtf”)

  2. February 26th, 2011 at 15:17 | #2

    @”Cowboy” Ben Alman Yeah, full-stop isn’t used much, you’re right.

    I didn’t bother with slash and backslash because I think they’re pretty universally accepted.

    quizbang – love it :)

  3. shezi
    February 26th, 2011 at 16:46 | #3

    Actually, that: ‽ is an Interrobang

  4. Jason Persampieri
    February 26th, 2011 at 16:49 | #4

    don’t forget

    ^ – caret or “That damn key I can never hit without looking at the keyboard.”

    Worked with a programmer once who called it “the ‘hat’ key”. He was weird.

  5. February 26th, 2011 at 18:33 | #5

    ( ) (…) Don’t call them brackets or I’ll destroy your keyboard.

    Interesting. Wikipedia suggests that in UK they’re also known as brackets.

  6. February 26th, 2011 at 18:48 | #6

    @Jan Stepien That’s correct, but here I’m making the distinction between general British English and programming-specific English. There’s as much need to be explicit about what you mean in everyday English, but when you’re talking programming it’s important to be unambiguous.

  7. February 26th, 2011 at 18:56 | #7

    An update on the UTF-8 situation – it’s now fixed! Sorry to everyone for their trashed symbols or diacritics. I followed the instructions here in case anyone’s interested.

  8. Flimm
    February 26th, 2011 at 23:15 | #8

    Argh, my comment got mangled by Markdown. Hope this works.

    How about:

    • -: dash (not slash! Yes, I’ve heard this one being called a slash. Not hash either. Sometimes minus. Or is it hyphen? Wikipedia, don’t tell me I’m wrong!)

    • _ : underscore

    • " : double quotes

    • ' : single quotes

    • ` : backtick

  9. valadil
    February 27th, 2011 at 05:42 | #9

    How do you pronounce -> and =>?

  10. February 27th, 2011 at 11:03 | #10

    @valadil Good question. I’ve generally called the first one “arrow” or “points to”. The second one’s often called a “hash rocket” in Ruby, because it’s used in hash literals and looks like a rocket. I think it depends on what you’re using it for…

  11. February 27th, 2011 at 22:59 | #11

    I’ve only ever heard lisp programmers call ‘( )’ parentheses. To everyone else I know they are brackets, thus the reference to ‘square brackets’ to distinguish them.

  12. Ross
    February 28th, 2011 at 04:07 | #12

    I have usually called the braces curly brackets, but don’t have the need to refer to them often. Perhaps if I did, I’d get used to the name braces.

  13. January 27th, 2014 at 03:58 | #13

    magnificent issues altogether, you simply won a brand new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your publish that you just made some days ago? Any positive?

  14. March 24th, 2014 at 04:31 | #14

    Wow, superb weblog structure! Howw lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. Thhe total glance of your site is great, as neatly as the content!

  15. March 26th, 2014 at 08:46 | #15

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yoursel or did yoou hire someone to doo it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to ffind out where u got this from. cheers

  16. October 19th, 2014 at 03:48 | #16

    This is the perfect website for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!

  17. February 20th, 2015 at 21:12 | #17

    Los dispositivos que os mostramos en esta publicación son baterías externas concebidas para cargar todo género de dispositivos por USB.

Comments are closed.