2
$\begingroup$

I've started learning C++, and I know a little bit of C. Something that always struck me as somewhat off was that the address-of operator is represented with the seemingly random ampersand (&) symbol instead of, say, the "at" symbol (@). Is there some kind of history behind this?

$\endgroup$
1
3
$\begingroup$

Because B did!

A user on software engineering.sx contacted Ken Thompson:

From: Ken Thompson

c copied from b so & and * are same there.
b got * from earlier languages - some assembly,
bcpl and i think pl/1.
i think that i used & because the name (ampersand)
sounds like "address." b was designed to be run with
a teletype model 33 teletype. (5 bit baud-o code)
so the use of symbols was restricted.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.