Interpunct

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Punctuation

An interpunct ( · ) —also called an interpoint[1]—is a small dot used for interword separation in ancient Latin script.

The dot is vertically centered, e.g. "DONA·EIS·REQVIEM", and is therefore also called a middle dot or centered dot (Commonwealth: centred dot). In addition to the round dot form, inscriptions sometimes use a small equilateral triangle for the interpunct, pointing either up or down. Such triangles can be found on inscriptions on buildings in the twentieth century. Ancient Greek, by contrast, had not developed interpuncts; all the letters ran together. The use of spaces for word separation did not appear until much later, some time between 600 and 800 AD.

The dot operator (also called middle dot and visually similar or identical to the interpunct) is the canonical mathematical multiplication sign (instead of the × used in English-speaking countries): “a multiplied by b” is written either explicitly as a·b or implicitly as ab, depending on context.

On a Mac OS X system, this symbol can be typed by "option-shift-9," and on X by "AltGr-.". In Unicode, the interpunct is code point U+00B7 ·middle dot (183decimal). The HTML entity for an interpunct is · or · (introduced in HTML 3.2). See also "Similar symbols", below.

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