The word ampersand is a corruption of the phrase "and (&) per se and", meaning "and (the symbol &) intrinsically (is the word) and".
The ampersand can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. and the Old Roman cursive, in which the letters E and T occasionally were written together to form a ligature. In the later and more flowing New Roman Cursive, ligatures of all kinds were extremely common. However, during the following development of the Latin script that led up to the Carolingian minuscule (9th century), while the use of ligatures in general diminished, the et-ligature continued to be used and gradually became more stylized and less revealing of its origin.
|Evolution of the Ampersand|