An Interesting Word – Interrobang

It could have been called the emphaquest or exclaragotive or interrapoint. It, however, was named the interrobang. You ask, what is it? Well, read on to find out!

The interrobang is a punctuation mark. It’s a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point.  According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the “interro” part of the word comes from the first part of “interrogation.” The “bang” part comes from printer’s slang for an exclamation point. It looks like a question mark on top of an exclamation point (or an exclamation point on top of a question mark, depending on how you see it :)).

When would you use an interrobang? Well, it would be used at the end of an incredulous or rhetorical question, such as, “He did what?!”

It was first invented in 1962 by Martin Speckter. A 1967 Time magazine article said, “If the interabang gains the acceptance of grammarians, printers and writers, it will be the first punctuation symbol to enter the printed language since the introduction of the quotation mark during the late 17th century.” It lost popularity by the end of the ’60s, however, and fell into obscurity. Today, you can find it in some modern typefaces, such as Wingdings 2, although it’s still not considered proper punctuation. The gnaborretin (interrobang backwards) is an upside down interrobang and is the Spanish version of the symbol.

I found a fantastic video about the history of the interrobang. The girl in the video even sells interrobang necklaces if you like to wear punctuation!

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

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