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I learned the asterisk character is the reason splatbooks are named such (from *books). However, I've been unable to find any specifics on who started pronouncing * as "splat". I know it's not very common now (more people, myself included, say "star"), but it was popular enough with programmers and gamers in the early to mid nineties, and was used in 1990 in the poem Waka Waka Bang Splat.

What group or groups started saying * as "splat"? When was this at its height?

  • What else would you call it? – Hot Licks Jun 30 '16 at 2:16
  • (I can attest that it was often called "splat" when I was in engineering school ca 1970. And "!" was called "bang".) – Hot Licks Jun 30 '16 at 2:17
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    It should be noted that different companies and technical specialties had different terms for these characters. IBM might use one set (they always had weird rules), Xerox another, DEC yet another. And the TTY operators and ham radio guys had their own terms as well. – Hot Licks Jun 30 '16 at 3:16
  • I call it "star," and hadn't heard "splat" before reading it on the linked page. (! is still "bang", though.) I know different places use different names; I wanted to know which places used splat. – ATayloe Jul 2 '16 at 11:40
  • There were computers around from 4-5 different manufacturers when I was in E school, and profs who had backgrounds from several more. There's no telling where "splat" came from, but it was the accepted term in the computer lab. But then, for the IBM control language on punch cards, we mostly said "slash asterisk" when /* was used. At least that's what I remember. (The "bang" was the control character in Xerox card decks.) – Hot Licks Jul 2 '16 at 12:07
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References: http://ss64.com/jargon.html http://ss64.com/bash/syntax-pronounce.html

" \!* " is pronounced bash-bang-splat

SPLAT n. 1. Name used in many places (DEC, IBM, and others) for the ASCII star ("*") character. 2. (MIT) Name used by some people for the ASCII pound-sign ("#") character. 3. (Stanford) Name used by some people for the Stanford/ITS extended ASCII circle-x character. (This character is also called "circle-x", "blobby", and "frob", among other names.) 4. (Stanford) Name for the semi-mythical extended ASCII circle-plus character. 5. Canonical name for an output routine that outputs whatever the the local interpretation of splat is. Usage: nobody really agrees what character "splat" is, but the term is common.

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    +1 for 5.... I don't think it asked me that when I was installing Ubuntu the other day... – Jim Jun 30 '16 at 6:15
  • This is helpful, but doesn't go into detail about when and where it started, or when it was at its peak. – ATayloe Jul 2 '16 at 11:39

protected by Mitch Oct 4 at 20:56

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