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To give additional emphasis, authors sometimes end interrogatory exclamations with ?! ; what is this punctuation mark called?

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Answer: the interrobang

I haven't been able to find any etymological information for the interrobang. If anyone knows anything, please send it to me and I will post it on the site.


You can read about the interrobang's origins at

This is the first site thrown up by Google -- but only if you spell it with the double-R. This yields more than 15,000 hits, as opposed to 54 for interobang, yet for some reason Google doesn't ask "Did you mean interrobang?"

That's the lesser of two problems with this question. The greater problem is that the term refers, not to the question and exclamation marks used together, but to a single punctuation mark combining the two.

[Mootguy: Thanks. Changes made]
Shane McCune

Here's an excerpt from :

American Martin K. Speckter concocted the interrobang itself in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that ads would look better if advertising copywriters conveyed surprised queries using a single mark.

He proposed the interrobang concept in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers.

Contenders included rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest, but he settled on interrobang. Speckter chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it.

Interrogatio is Latin for question or query; bang is printer's slang for exclamation point. Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.

In 1966, Richard Isbell of American Type Founders issued the Americana typeface and included the interrobang as one of the characters. In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters.

The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s, with the word 'interrobang' appearing in some dictionaries and the mark itself being featured in magazine and newspaper articles. The interrobang failed to amount to more than a fad, however, never becoming a standard punctuation mark. Most fonts don't include it.

But it has not disappeared: Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang character as part of the Wingdings 2 character set available with Microsoft Office; it is present in the fonts Lucida Sans UniConcise Oxford Dictionarye and Arial UniConcise Oxford Dictionarye MS; and it has the 0x203D UniConcise Oxford Dictionarye.

My dad was a printer of the hot-metal type era and I know this symbol was in use then though it was just a single character with the exclamation point superimposed on top of the question mark.

As I recall, the name is an acronym from combining "interrogative" with "bang" (printer slang for an exclamation point). My dad left behind a number of printing reference books which unfortunately I got rid of a few months ago when we moved. Don't know if they would have had more info on this or not.

This is mentioned in an old TV special called "The Strange Case of the English Language"...I think it was a precursor of the 60 minutes show. One of the interviewees mentions the interrobang and (I think) identifies himself as the source. The film used to be available at BCIT, but may have been "retired" as it's well over 30 years old. It's well worth watching ...especially for clips of interviews with Peter Ustinov.

I remember seeing a poster in high school, 1967-71, that showed this to be a question mark superimposed upon an an exclamation point. "bang!" is printer-speak for an exclamation point.

Actually, I think "?!" and not "!?" is the interrobang, since interrobang suggests the question mark first, then the exclamation mark. In Britain, "bang" is slang for the exclamation mark; and "?" is sometimes called the "interrogation mark" (certainly in French it is "point d'interrogation")

[Mootguy: Thanks. Change made.]

Mr. Speckter called his mark INTERROBANG from the Latin for query and the proofreader's term for exclamation. Most dictionaries have spelled the word correctly, although several other spellings with no logical genesis have appeared.

You can find an interrobang in Microsoft Word's Fonts. Go to Format, choose Fonts, then Wingdings 2. You'll find 4 different versions of the interrobang. Hit the ` ~ key, the ] } key, the 6 ^ key, or the - _ key.

Complete info on:

i tell my students NEVER to do that. now, i must eat my words! thanks for the reality check!! the interrobang...hmmm. i like it!

Actually, I think "?!" and not "!?" is the interrobang, since interrobang suggests the question mark first, then the exclamation mark.

In Britain, "bang" is slang for the exclamation mark; and "?" is sometimes called the "interrogation mark" (certainly in French it is "point d'interrogation")

It may be that "!?" is essentially the same as "?!" and therefore carries the same name of "interrobang," but for example as a chess notation, there is a definite difference ("?!" is a strange move that is probably bad, whereas "!?" is a strange move that might actually be good). To me, "?!" is about expressing incredulity, whereas "!?" is just about yelling a question.

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