Pound sign

seealso|Pound (currency).The pound sign ("£" or "") is the symbol for the pound sterling—the currency of the United Kingdom (UK). The same symbol is (or was) used for currencies of the same name in some other countries and territories; there are other countries whose currency is called "the pound", but that do not use the £ symbol.

Both symbols derive from capital "L", standing for "librum", the basic Roman unit of weight which is in turn derived from the Latin word for scales or a balance. The pound became a British unit of weight, and the pound currency unit was so named because it was originally the value of 1 pound Tower Weight (326 g) of fine (pure) silver.

In English-language use, the pound sign, like the dollar sign ("$"), is placed before the number (i.e. "£12,000" and not "12,000£"), and separated from the following number by no space or a thin space.

The symbol "₤" is also known as the lira sign. In Italy, prior to the adoption of the euro, the symbol was used as an alternative to the more usual L to indicate prices in lire (but always with double horizontal lines). Other nations, such as Syria, continue to use the lira, and thus the lira sign, as denotation of their currency.Fact|date=May 2008



The symbol "£" has Unicode code point U+00A3 (inherited from Latin-1) [http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0080.pdf] . It has a HTML entity reference of £ and has an XML decimal entity reference of £.

The symbol "₤" has Unicode code point U+20A4, decimal entity reference ₤.

Entry methods

Prior to the introduction of the IBM PC there was no unique accepted standard for entering, displaying, printing, or storing the £ sign in the UK computer industry. On personal computers prior to the PC the "#" key was often used; sometimes it was displayed on screen as "#", but many printers could be set up to print "£" where "#" was sent to the printer by an application program. Keying in, storing, displaying, and printing the sign often required special setup. The "#" sign is sometimes called "pound sign" in non-sterling countries.

The BBC Micro used a variant of ASCII that replaced the backtick ("`", character 96, hex 60) with the pound sign (ISO/IEC 8859 had not yet been standardised, and it was advantageous to have commonly-used characters available in the lower, 7-bit ASCII table), denoted as CHR$96 or (hex) CHR$&60. Since the BBC Micro used a Teletext mode as standard, this means that the pound sign is in the 7-bit ASCII variant used on Teletext systems such as Ceefax, ORACLE and Teletext Ltd too.

The PC UK keyboard layout has the "£" symbol on the 3 number key, where an American keyboard has the number sign ("#").

The symbol "£" is in the MacRoman character set and can be generated on most non-UK Mac OS keyboard layouts which do not have a dedicated key for it, typically through Option+3. Under Microsoft Windows it can be generated through the Alt keycodes 0163 and 156, and in MS-DOS by Alt-156.

The Compose key sequence is 'L' and '-'.

ee also

*Currency sign

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pound sign — pound′ sign n. 1) cvb num a symbol (£) for “pound” or “pounds” as a monetary unit of the United Kingdom 2) cvb a symbol (#) for “pound” or “pounds” as a unit of weight Compare number sign space mark 3) a symbol (#) used for various purposes •… …   From formal English to slang

  • pound sign — n 1.) BrE the ↑symbol (£), used for a pound in British money 2.) AmE the ↑symbol (#), used especially on a telephone British Equivalent: hash …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pound sign — pound ,sign noun count 1. ) AMERICAN the symbol # 2. ) the symbol £ …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pound sign — n. a symbol (#) on a button on a touch tone telephone keypad …   English World dictionary

  • pound sign — octothorp oc to*thorp, octothorpe oc to*thorpe, n. [octo eight + thorp Etymology of thorp uncertain. (ca. 1965). See quote below. Possibly derived from octalthorpe or octotherp (once used by the Bell System?).] A typographic symbol (#) having two …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pound sign — Ever wondered why Brits flounder when voicemail messages say to press the pound sign? What on earth is the British currency doing on a phone anyway? Well, it isn t. To a Brit, the pound sign is the wiggly thing we use to denote the UK pound… …   The American's guide to speaking British

  • pound sign — ● ►en loc. m. ►CHAR Version anglaise du nom du fagot, i.e. le caractère # . Adrian Chandler me signale: Pound sign signifie symbole de la livre (sterling) . C est le caractère £ (ANSI 0163). Étant donné que ce symbole est utile pour les anglais… …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • pound sign — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms pound sign : singular pound sign plural pound signs 1) the symbol £ 2) American a hash (#) …   English dictionary

  • pound sign — noun a) The symbol £ representing the pound sterling. b) The symbol on a telephone. <!Note: pound sign is not a name for lb, as this is an abbreviation rather than a symbol Syn: hash, hash sign, number sign, octothorpe …   Wiktionary

  • pound sign — 1. a symbol (£) for pound or pounds as a monetary unit of the United Kingdom. 2. a symbol (#) for pound or pounds as a unit of weight or mass: 20# bond paper stock. 3. the symbol (#) used for various purposes. Cf. hash mark, number sign, space… …   Universalium

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