A French committee has given an official name to the @ sign used in email.
According to the Agence France-Presse, the General Committee on Terminology has formally dubbed the @ as an arobase and has published its decision in the government's official bulletin.
The word derives from an ancient measurement that used the same symbol of the letter 'a' surrounded by a circle.
According to the committee, arobase derives from arrobe, itself a derivative of the Arabic ar-rub, meaning 'quarter', an ancient Spanish and Portuguese unit of capacity and weight.
The committee has already attempted to come up with French equivalents for a number of web terms. Five years ago it failed to have the word mel adopted instead of 'email'.
But it has succeeded with other terms, including site for website, and portail for portal.
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