Paragraph mark

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The paragraph character ¶ ( Unicode U + 00B6 pilcrow sign , HTML Entity ¶) marks the end of a paragraph . In German, the paragraph mark is also called paragraph mark or Alinea , from the Latin a linea , "away from the line". The Unicode character is used for visual identification and should not be confused with the line feed character.

It is called Pilcrow in English ; possibly a corruption of the term paragraph ("paragraph"). It has been documented as pilcrow (e) since 1573 at the latest and in the archaic form pylcrafte since 1440.


Alinea sign in a print from 1500

In typography , Alinea is a technical term for “paragraph, new line”, ie the first line of a new paragraph that is aligned with the front sentence line (while the paragraph is usually indented against it). In medieval texts, the symbol was used to separate mental units in the text, for example in songs at the end of a stanza; today paragraphs are used for this.

In early German prints the symbol stands for a handwritten Jt. (Abbreviation for Latin item = same ), with which enumerations were marked in the early modern period.

Word processing

Paragraph characters in LibreOffice

Current word processing programs use the paragraph mark to display the paragraph break : If you make the non-printable characters visible, the end of the paragraph is symbolized on the screen with the ¶ character as a paragraph mark . It is important to define the end of the paragraph for the program-specific paragraph formatting such as indentation, line spacing, alignment or numbering: These apply to at least one paragraph.

In other contexts it is used to mark the end of a line , i.e. it symbolizes CR( carriage return , carriage return ), the character string CR LF ( carriage return plus line feed , line feed ), NL/NEL( new line / next line ) or EoL( end of line ), depending according to the operating system or the underlying character set .

Representation on computer systems

  • As mentioned at the beginning, it is the Unicode character U + 00B6, pilcrow sign (decimal 182, also available in ANSI ).
  • There is ¶a named HTML entity .
  • In typographic applications, it can be represented as a decorative variant with the Unicode character U+2761 curved stem paragraph signed ornament (❡) from the Dingbats block.
  • In LaTeX the paragraph mark ¶ can be inserted with \Por \textparagraph.

Web links

Wiktionary: Paragraph marks  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: ¶  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. James AH Murray (Ed.): A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philogical Society . Volume VII. O, P. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1909, pp. 854 ( digital copies from the Internet Archive [accessed April 19, 2010]).
  2. ^ Friedrich Forssman , Ralf de Jong: Detail typography . 2nd Edition. Hermann Schmidt, Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-87439-642-8 , The paragraph, p. 144 .