• Question: Why is the @ symbol used in an email address?

    Asked by ladysovereignezza to David, Luna, Mark, Melanie, Probash on 21 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: David Pyle

      David Pyle answered on 20 Mar 2011:


      Great question – but I have no idea! It must come from an early protocol, thinking of how to group together people within a network who lived ‘at’ a particular address..

    • Photo: Melanie Stefan

      Melanie Stefan answered on 21 Mar 2011:


      In the early days of the internet, a standard, computer-readable format for all e-mail addresses was defined. According to that standard, it would consist of a user name and a domain name (comparable to an address on an envelope having a name of a person and a description of a location, with a street, zip code etc.). The two were to be put together in the form “user at domain”. The symbol @ was at that time already used in accounting and pronounced “at” (as in “three apples at one pound each”), and it had the additional advantage of not being likely to be used in user names or domain names.

    • Photo: Luna Munoz

      Luna Munoz answered on 21 Mar 2011:


      I used to know, but now all I know is that it organizes messages by what domain the messages should be sent to. It’s like sending a letter to a certain post code.

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