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Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
Why is the symbol # called the hashtag in Twitter?
Tuesday November 19th 2013
Question
Why is the symbol # called the hashtag in Twitter?  — eliznurse, United States
Answer

The symbol known as the hashtag (#) in Twitter has a history of different names and uses in American English, including pound sign – used after a number to mean “weight in pounds,” number sign – used in front of a number to mean “number” (as in "Please review item #2 on the list"), crosshatch, and hash mark.

In addition to the symbol, the term hash mark can also refer to a set of stripes on a soldier’s sleeve that indicate a number of years of service in the military, or to lines on a football field.

The word hashtag, used to refer to the symbol (#) in Twitter, is a combination of the word hash from hash mark and the word tag, a way to mark something as belonging to a specific category. 

As many of you probably know, using a hashtag in Twitter helps categorize your message and makes it possible for others to find your tweet when they search for messages on the same topic.  If you include the hashtag #snowden in your tweet, for example, anyone who searches for #snowden in Twitter will see your tweet. Hashtags make it easy to quickly find messages about a topic that interests you. 

 

I hope this helps. 

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