Apr 3, 2013

Wordology, Pilcrow

The pilcrow was used in the Middle Ages to mark a new train of thought, before the convention of physically discrete paragraphs was commonplace.

The pilcrow originated as a letter C, for capitulum, or chapter in Latin. This C was the symbol that replaced in the function of marking off paragraphs the Greek-style paragraphos, and other symbols including the section sign.

It is now used in word processing software and page layout programs to mark the presence of a typewriter style carriage return control character at the end of a paragraph. Most programs allow the user to turn on or off the symbol to visualize page layout.