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11 symbols you encounter every day without knowing what they mean

Have you ever noticed that the symbol on your USB stick strangely resembles Neptune’s trident? Or have you ever asked yourself why the @ symbol has it’s particular rounded shape? These aren’t exactly deep questions as to the meaning of life, but the responses could be entertaining all the same! Here are 11 symbols that you see all the time, without ever having asked yourself what they mean…

1/ The USB symbol

It’s a logo you see ten times a day if you work at a computer. Have you ever paid attention to the actual shape of it? If you look closely, you can make out Neptune’s trident. The designer of the symbol was indeed inspired by the god of the sea, with the various shapes of the tips signifying universal power!

Montage: Pixabay/Wikimedia

2/ The spikes of the Statue of Liberty’s crown

The Statue of Liberty isn’t just a pretty face! The spikes on her crown in fact point in several directions: each spike represents a continent. We bet you never even thought to ask!

Credits: Flickr

3/ The Pause symbol

You are sure to be more than familiar with the two little parallel lines that allow you to pause on an image shown on the television screen. These two little lines are also found on sheet music, indicating the end of a piece, or a pause in the passage, called a ‘rest’.

Montage: Wikimedia Commons

4/ The Bluetooth symbol

Do you know where the curious name Bluetooth comes from? It’s true it’s not that glamorous a name! However, there is a story behind it: it is the fusion of the letters H and B, as a tribute to the Danish king Harald Bluetooth, thus nicknamed due to his penchant for blueberries! And the logo in all of this? It is made up of the letters H and B from the Nordic alphabet, which are a little different from our own.


5/ The ON/OFF symbols

Originally used to indicate the ‘standby’ mode, the ON/OFF button’s logo comes from binary 1s and 0s, now used to switch devices both on (1) and off (0).


6/ The heart symbol

The symbol for love goes back to the time of the Ancient Greeks: it didn’t represent the actual human heart, which isn’t actually in this shape, but in fact an ivy leaf or a silphium seed (a plant which has now disappeared).