The pilcrow (¶;
&para;), also called the
paragraphsign or the alinea ( Latin: "a linea", "off the line"), is a typographical charactercommonly used to denote individual paragraphs. This non-alphabeticsymbol varies between typefaces, but the form shown here is typical.
The pilcrow can be used as an indent for separate
paragraphsor to designate a new paragraph in one long piece of copy, as Eric Gilldid in his 1930s book, "An Essay On Typography". The pilcrow was used in the Middle Agesto mark a new train of thought, before the convention of physicallydiscrete paragraphs was commonplace.
The pilcrow is usually drawn like a backwards letter
Preaching to capsheight or ascenderheight, but may also be drawn with the bowl stretching further downwards, resembling a backwards D.
History and etymology
"Pilcrow" might be a
derivationof "paragraph" through "parcrafte"; the etymology is uncertain, yet, the " Oxford English Dictionary" says that 'apparently', "pilcrow" originated as an unattested version in English of the French "pelagraphe", a corruption of "paragraph"; the earliest reference is c.1440. Another derivation suggested is "pilcrow" originating as a letter "C", for " capitulum", "chapter" in Latin. In this account, the "pilcrow" is the "paraph" symbol that replaced the " paragraphos", which was marked with different symbols, including the section sign. Moreover, the "paraph" also could be marked with a full-height, cents-like sign or with a double slash, originally symbols indicating a note from the scribeto the rubricator. [Parkes, M.B. "Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West." ISBN 0-520-07941-8.]
The pilcrow has been used in
desktop publishing softwaresuch as word processors and page layout programs to mark the presence of a carriage return control characterat the end of a paragraph. It is also used as the icon on a class of toolbarbutton which shows or hides the pilcrow and similar "hidden characters", including tabs, whitespace, and page breaks. In typing programs, it is used to mark a return that one needs to type.
legal writing, it is used whenever one must referencea specific paragraph within pleadings, law reviewarticles, statutes, or other legal documents and materials.
proofreading, it is used to indicate that one paragraph should be split into two or more separate paragraphs; the pilcrow is inserted at the point at which a new paragraph should begin. Online, it is used in some blogs and wikis to denote permalinks [ [http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2004/05/31/PurpleAgain ongoing — Purple Pilcrows] ] (cf Purple Numbers).
Unicode, the characteris called PILCROW SIGN, and has codepoint
U+00B6. The HTML entity for it is
charactercan be added as a visible, printable character on the Windows operating systemusing the shortcutalt + 0182. Depending on the font used, this character will have varied appearance, and in some cases, may be replaced by an alternate glyphentirely.
Mac OScomputer the pilcrow character can be generated by typing Option + 7.
Paragraph signs in non-Latin writing systems
In Chinese, the traditional paragraph sign is a thin
circleabout the same size as a Chinese character. This same mark also serves as a “zero” character, as a stylisticvariation of the Chinese character for “zero”. As a paragraph sign, this mark only appears in older books. Its current use is generally as a “ zero” character.
In Thai, the character ๛ (
U+0E5B, Thai character Khomut) can be used to mark the end of a
* [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pilcrow Pilcrow definition] at the [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pilcrow Dictionary.com website]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.