|Examples/ definitions with source references|
"In Boise, Idaho, US West is testing a system it calls Voice Interactive
Phone, or VIP. By dialing the octothorpe (#) and 44, then saying
'Messages,' a subscriber can retrieve voice mail."
Gene Bylinsky and Alicia Hills Moore; Fortune (New York); At Last!
Computers You Can Talk to; May 3, 1993.
octothorpe (OK-tuh-thorp) noun
The symbol #.
[The symbol # is derived from a shorthand way of writing lb, the abbreviation
for the Latin libra (balance), just as $ is a shorthand way of writing US.
Octothorpe is an alteration, influenced by octo-, of earlier octalthorpe,
probably a humorous blend of octal (an eight-point pin used in electronic
connections) and someone whose last name was or ended in "thorpe", and whose
identity is subject to speculation. It may be James Edward Oglethorpe, an
eighteenth century English philanthropist, but more likely it is an Olympic
athlete, Jim Thorpe. In the early 1960s, Bell Labs introduced two special
keys in its innovative touch-tone telephone keypads, "#" and "*", for which
it needed fresh names. Having eight points, "octo-" was an obvious first
element. Since the engineer involved in introducing this innovation was
active in a group seeking the return of Jim Thorpe's medals from Sweden, he
whimsically added "-thorpe", creating octothorpe. (Jim Thorpe was
disqualified because of his professional status, but his medals were
restored posthumously.) The "#" is also known as a pound sign, crosshatch,
number sign, sharp, hash, crunch, mesh, hex, flash, grid, pig-pen, gate,
hak, oof, rake, fence, gate, grid, gridlet, square, and widget mark.]
Some other eight-based words, other than the obvious octagon, octave, and
octopus, are octamerous, having eight parts or organs; octane, a type of
hydrocarbon in fuel and solvents; octant, the eighth part of a circle;
octonare and octapody, a verse of eight feet; and octonary, pertaining to
the number eight.