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Is there a word or phrase to describe a substituting a dingbat, special character or number for a letter or portion of a word?


The Chicago Bulls successfully achieved a 3peat.

"In 1999, Tom Jermoluk stepped down as CEO of Excite@Home."

Ke$ha is the stage name of Kesha Rose Sebert.

I thought of "letter substitution", but that can also refer to a substitution cipher.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Words such as Micro$oft and Kei$ha are examples of satiric misspelling:

A satiric misspelling is an intentional misspelling of a word, phrase or name for a rhetorical purpose. This is often done by replacing a letter with another letter (for example, k replacing c), or symbol (for example, $ replacing s, @ replacing a, or ¢ replacing c). Satiric misspelling is found particularly in informal writing on the Internet, but can also be found in some serious political writing that opposes the status quo.

The term also finds mention on Google Books.

3-peat is a contraction of three-peat1. From there, it's simply a question of replacing the three with the numeral (like we do with two-year-old/2-year-old). 3peat (sans hyphen) could perhaps be classified under one or more of leetspeak, SMS language, or as a grammargram or rebus.

I don't believe that Excite@Home really qualifies as it's effectively a portmanteau of the names of two companies, Excite and @Home. The latter is an ISP and its use of @ is self-evident.

1(the construction threepeat has apparently been registered as a trademark – threepeatedly :s

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Good an$wer, coleopterist! Th@'s 1 H3LL of a find! – J.R. Oct 12 '12 at 20:27
I like this answer, but the wikipedia article seems to indicate that the term applies only when the usage is specifically satirical. – Marcus_33 Oct 12 '12 at 20:27
@Marcus: If you add "leet" to "satiric misspelling", you'll have an even broader set of examples. – J.R. Oct 12 '12 at 20:38
@Marcus_33 Good point. I've updated my answer. – coleopterist Oct 12 '12 at 21:02
This is like an mash-up between a pun and a typographical rebus. – bib Oct 12 '12 at 23:52

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