A mondegreen of "and per se and", meaning "and (the character) '&' by itself", which is how the symbol (&) was originally referred to in English. This formulation is due to the fact that in schools, when reciting the alphabet, any letter that could also be used as a word in itself ("A," "I," "&" and, at one point, "O") was preceded by the Latin expression per se (Latin for "by itself"). Also, it was common practice to add at the end of the alphabet the "&" sign, pronounced "and". Thus the end of the recitation would be: "X, Y, Z and per se and." This last phrase was routinely slurred to "ampersand" and the term crept into common English usage by around 1837.
ampersand (plural ampersands)
- The symbol "&".
- The ampersand character in many logics acts as an operator connecting two propositions.