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The symbol & is a representation of the Latin word et (see DPD, Appendix 4). Wikipedia claims that the symbol itself is called et; however, the DRAE's entry for et doesn't list the symbol as a meaning of the word, and I have never heard anybody use it in that way.

Which would be a proper name for that symbol?

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Neither et nor ampersand (which is a direct english translation) exist in DRAE with that meaning. I think the best name is et, but I had never heard of it. So I asked if a better name exist. –  J. Calleja Dec 22 '11 at 13:32
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I'd say that "&" is not often used in "Spanish sentences". weusually see it inames of International companies or sentences from English. I think that it is because in English "and" is longer than "&" so you save space, but in Spanish "y" is shorter and easier to type/write than "&". –  Juanillo Dec 22 '11 at 15:36
    
My large Oxford dictionary translates ampersand as el signo &, which isn't very helpful. –  Peter Taylor Dec 22 '11 at 22:30
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3 Answers

My Gran Diccionario Larousse is also very unhelpful with this.

When I look up English ampersand it lists merely: signo "&" - and it has no entry for et.

Wiktionary though lists both et and also y comercial, both having feminine gender.

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Based on my personal experience (computer engineering, lots of "&" in programming), I'd say that if you have to name that symbol and want others to understand you while spelling out loud, you have to say "ampersand". Remember that although RAE is the so-called authority, they don't always represent real use. That's why they're constantly upgrading.

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+1 I also use "ampersand" at work –  dusan Dec 23 '11 at 0:05
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Yep, the same in Argentina, just ampersand with a stress in the first A –  Petruza Dec 31 '11 at 2:31
    
Yes, as Petruza stated, technically it would be pronounced as "ámpersand" but I didn't dare writing it because is not a spanish word. –  hnavarro Jan 3 '12 at 12:03
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Wikipedia has a very clear explanation:

El signo &, cuyo nombre en español es et es una alternativa gráfica de la conjunción copulativa latina et, que significa y de la que deriva la española «y».

Es conocido por su nombre en inglés ampersand, proveniente a su vez de la expresión and per se and, es decir, «y por sí mismo, y», usada como parte de la retahíla para la memorización del alfabeto.

Deriva del latín de donde el signo pasó a diversos idiomas, incluido el español. Su uso en nuestra lengua es superfluo, pues no resulta económico (a diferencia de otros idiomas) ya que la conjunción copulativa y tiene una grafía más breve y sencilla. En textos españoles antiguos es frecuente encontrarlo empleado en la expresión latina adoptada et cetera, en las formas &c. o &cetera.

RAE has this for et:

conj. desus. y.

I'd say & is called et as Wikipedia points out although is read as y just as in English is read as and

Lista de símbolos o signos no alfabetizables from RAE (thanks, Javi)

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@Icarus, the point of the question (as it stands now) is that although Wikipedia has an explanation it is unsourced and doesn't seem to be consistent with resources which are considered the authority on the subject. This answer doesn't really address that issue. –  Peter Taylor Dec 22 '11 at 15:22
    
@PeterTaylor: OP is asking for the meaning of & and the meaning is clearly y (and); The symbol itself is called et as shown on the link from RAE posted by Javi and on the question itself. I don't know what else can I do/add to answer the question. –  Icarus Dec 22 '11 at 15:31
    
No, he's asking for the name (which isn't the same as the meaning: in English the name is ampersand and the meaning is and); similarly the table from DPD (which I linked in the question when I edited it) is a table of meanings, not of names. –  Peter Taylor Dec 22 '11 at 15:40
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