*! (what’s it mean?)

*! or [emphatic asterisk] is the title of this blog.

The emphatic asterisk comes from a long ago email conversation with a friend. I put an asterisk in one of my emails for a footnote and couldn’t think of how to clarify my point. So she read, “I’m completely at a loss to what to say!*” with the footnote reading, “*!!!” Because me, at a loss of what to say, is just startling. Thus the emphatic asterisk became shorthand for surprise, alarm, and sometimes angst. At moments where words don’t suffice, just say “*!”. Imagine it like a bell ringing or a sudden intake of breath.

Someone suggested that *! is polite cursing. No, sorry to deflate your theory, but if I wanted to curse I wouldn’t do it politely.

So there you have it.


12 thoughts on “*! (what’s it mean?)

  1. I must say it now: As a writer I find this brilliant.

    But as a person, it’s something we all need in life…and I’d have had to use them a time or two ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for sharing and for bringing something fresh to the everyday blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Although I love the idea of “emphatic asterisk,” the *! representation seems a little unbalanced to me (although I adore the original version in context). I don’t want to come across as forthright, especially since I’n not a regular reader or commenter on your blog (I know of it via Through the Illusion), but I came up with an alternative version and thought I’d present it to you. If I was competent enough to design fonts I suppose I could make a typeable version of it, but as it is, I only have a graphical one: Emphatic Asterisk. It’s yours, no strings or whatnots tied from strings. Again, I apologize if this seems pushy of me. For all I know, you’ve already had the same design idea. ยทpยท

    • Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this comment! I do LOVE your new take on the *!, and I think it could be a lot of fun to play with different artistic representations on that theme (I see a bouncy fun emphatic asterisk, dancing perhaps) anyway, thank you so much for the new idea, I hadn’t thought of it before and will have to play with it!

  3. I’m so glad you like it and weren’t offended!

    The typeface I decided on (after auditioning many) was Schneidler Blk BT, which is categorized as humanist. You may be able to find a free source for it on the web if it wasn’t installed with some application on your computer (I don’t remember when or where I acquired it). The relative proportions of the asterisk and the shaft have been changed.

    If you want, and can use it, I have my original Adobe Illustrator file that I used to create the jpeg.

    • Thanks for the information! I have have a Linux OS and several free fonts that I’ve gleaned and downloaded, so I’m sure I can find something comparable if I can’t find the exact font, but I’m seriously considering just drawing it by hand. If I do I’ll let you know when it’s done! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my blog thus i got here to return the favor?.I’m attempting to find issues to improve my web site!I guess its ok to make
    use of some of your ideas!!

  5. I’m extremely pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thank
    you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked
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