# What Is The Name Of '#'?

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Can you tell me the English name of '#'? pound key, pound sign or else? And what is hex key?

Thanks
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HaohaoxuexiCan you tell me the English name of '#'? pound key, pound sign or else? And what is hex key?

Thanks
Hi,

It is a pound sign. A pound-key is a button on a keyboard with a pound sign.

"A hex key, also known as an Allen, Alum, hex-head, or zeta key or wrench, is a tool used to drive screws and bolts that have a hexagonal socket in the head" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_wrench .

On some computer keyboards, one might find a numeric key-pad that has six letter-keys: A, B, C, D, E, and F. These keys are used for entering a base-16 numeric system numbers. People in the digital world also call them hex keys (hex stands for hexadecimal).

Best wishes,
Hoa Thai
Hi,

I used to hear it called a number sign but in the age of computers I hear it called pound sign. Automated telephone instructions say, "Enter your account number and press pound."

I've never heard of a hex key, but in BASIC programming a hexadecimal (base 16) number is often preceded by the dollar sign.

Regards, - A.

Edit. Wow! Way to go, Hoa! I use Allen wrenches every day. Who would have thought?
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How about hash key? Is it the same thing?
HaohaoxuexiHow about hash key? Is it the same thing?
Hi,

Now you are asking a bit tougher question to answer. But I'll give it a try.

In the computing world, a hash key is an output of a hash function (a mathematical function), whose job is to transform a huge range of input values into a smaller groups of values, each group is represented by a key. These hash keys are often indexed / sorted to help a search engine find an input value faster. For example, let's say there are 10 millions values that you want to store on a storage device and design a method to retrieve an interested value fast. If you do not use any indexing method, it would be long and ineffective to search for that value. Now, if you can create a hash function that can transform these values into 10,000 sorted groups, each stores 1000 values, your search for any interested value would be faster. Why it is faster requires many pages to explain. If you are interested in the reason and the rigorous mathematical explanation, you can further find the detailed answer in any computer books on the theory of search algorithm.

Best wishes,
Hoa Thai
HaohaoxuexiHow about hash key? Is it the same thing?
As a footnote to Hoa's very interesting note on hash functions: "hash key" is probably the most common name in BrE for the # sign on a keypad.

"Pound sign" is generally not used in the UK, and may cause confusion, as native speakers naturally interpret the phrase as meaning £.

On the subject of Allen keys: I've always thought the "logical not" symbol ¬ just above the tab key looked very like one (in the right light, of course).

MrP
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HaohaoxuexiHow about hash key? Is it the same thing?
Conference call blues

Two Nations separated by a common language?

Every time I get on a conference call with the US I get the "enter your particpant code followed by the pound key". My phone (like all others in the world) does not have a pound key (£) - it does have a hash key (#).

Edit.

Hi,

Came across this on Google and was taken completely by surprise. Had no idea! Posted it before I saw MrP's post.
Hmmm. The "hash key" reminded me of the phrase "hash marks," which I though referred to crosshatching used in a drawing to indicate shading -- this would make sense for the origin of "hash key" for #. A very quick google search did not confirm this menaing, but turned up lots of other meanings for "hash marks" -- including the stripes on a soldier's sleeve indicating rank, and the ' and " marks used as abbreviations for feet and inches. Is anyone familiar with the meaning I had in mind, or did I just make it up?