|In Unicode||U+00B6 ¶ PILCROW SIGN (¶)|
|Different from||U+00A7 § SECTION SIGN|
The pilcrow may be used at the start of separate paragraphs or to designate a new paragraph in one long piece of copy, as Eric Gill did in his 1931 book An Essay on Typography. The pilcrow was a type of rubrication used in the Middle Ages to mark a new train of thought, before the convention of visually discrete paragraphs was commonplace. In some medieval texts, it indicated a new sentence. In recent times, the symbol has been given a wider variety of roles, as listed below.
The pilcrow is usually drawn similarly to a lowercase descender to ascender height; the bowl (loop) can be filled or unfilled. It may also be drawn with the bowl stretching further downwards, resembling a reversed ; this is more often seen in older printing.reaching from
Origin and name
The word 'pilcrow' originates from the Ancient Greek: παράγραφος (parágraphos), literally, "written on the side or margin". This was rendered in Old French as paragraphe and later changed to pelagraphe. The earliest reference of the modern 'pilcrow' is in 1440 with the Middle English word pylcrafte.
Use in Ancient Greek
The first way to divide sentences into groups in Ancient Greek was the original παράγραφος (parágraphos), which was a horizontal line in the margin to the left of the main text. As the paragraphos became more popular, the horizontal line eventually changed into the Greek letter Gamma (⟨Γ⟩, ⟨γ⟩) and later into litterae notabiliores, which were enlarged letters at the beginning of a paragraph.
Use in Latin
Above notation soon changed to the letter ⟨K⟩, an abbreviation for the Latin word kaput, which translates as "head", i.e. it marks the head of a new thesis. Eventually, to mark a new section, the Latin word capitulum, which translates as "little head", was used, and the letter ⟨C⟩ came to mark a new section, or chapter,  in 300 BC.
Use in Middle Ages
In the 1100s, ⟨C⟩ had completely replaced ⟨K⟩ as the symbol for a new chapter. Rubricators eventually added one or two vertical bars to the to stylize it (as ); the 'bowl' of the symbol was filled in with dark ink and eventually looked like the modern pilcrow, .
(Scribes would often leave space before paragraphs to allow rubricators to add a hand-drawn pilcrow in contrasting ink. With the introduction of the printing press from the late medieval period on, space before paragraphs was still left for rubricators to complete by hand. However in some circumstances, rubricators could not draw fast enough for publishers' deadlines and books would often be sold with the beginnings of the paragraphs left blank. This is how the practice of indention before paragraphs was created.)
The pilcrow remains in use in modern time in the following ways:
- in legal writing, it is often used whenever one cites a specific paragraph within pleadings, law review articles, statutes, or other legal documents and materials;
- in academic writing, it is sometimes used as an in-text referencing tool to make reference to a specific paragraph from a document that does not contain page numbers, allowing the reader to find where that particular idea or statistic was sourced. The pilcrow sign followed by a number indicates the paragraph number from the top of the page. It is rarely used when citing books or journal articles;
- in web publishing style guides, a pilcrow may be used to indicate an anchor link;
- in proofreading, it indicates an instruction that one paragraph should be split into two or more separate paragraphs. The proofreader inserts the pilcrow at the point where a new paragraph should begin;
- in some high-church Anglican and Episcopal churches, it is used in the printed order of service to indicate that instructions follow; these indicate when the congregation should stand, sit, and kneel, who participates in various portions of the service, and similar information. King's College, Cambridge uses this convention in the service booklet for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. This is analogous to the writing of these instructions in red in some rubrication conventions.
The pilcrow is used in desktop publishing software such as desktop word processors and page layout programs to mark the end of a paragraph. It is also used as the icon on a toolbar button that shows or hides the pilcrow and similar onscreen annotations that mark hidden characters, including tabs, whitespace, and page breaks. In typing programs, it marks a carriage return that one must type.
The pilcrow may indicate a footnote in a convention using a sequence of distinct typographic symbols in sequence to distinguish the footnotes on a given page; it is the sixth in a series of footnote symbols beginning with the asterisk.
The pilcrow character was in the 1984 Multinational Character Set extension of ASCII at 0xB6 (decimal 182), from where it was inherited by ISO/IEC 8859-1 (1987) and thence by Unicode as U+00B6 ¶ PILCROW SIGN. In addition, Unicode also defines U+204B ⁋ REVERSED PILCROW SIGN, U+2761 ❡ CURVED STEM PARAGRAPH SIGN ORNAMENT, and U+2E3F ⸿ CAPITULUM. The capitulum character is obsolete, being replaced by pilcrow, but is included in Unicode for backward compatibility and historic studies.
Historically, the pilcrow symbol was included in the default hardware codepage 437 of IBM PCs (and all other 8-bit OEM codepages based on this) at code point 20 (0x14), sharing its position with the ASCII control code DC4.
- US international keyboard layout: AltGr+;[clarification needed]
- Windows: Alt+0182 or Alt+20 (both on the numeric keypad)
- Classic Mac OS and macOS: ⌥ Opt+7
- Linux: Compose⇧ Shift+P⇧ Shift+P
- Linux and ChromeOS: Ctrl+⇧ Shift+UB6 (ChromeOS with UK-International keyboard layout: AltGr+r)
¶(introduced in HTML 3.2 (1997)), or
- Vim, in insert mode: Ctrl+K PI (upper-case i, not a digit 1 or a lower-case letter L)
- Android phones (Gboard): ?123=/<¶
- Apple iPhones and iPads may require additional software. Tools may be required to easily generate a pilcrow, or other special characters.
Depending on the font used, this character varies in appearance.
Paragraph signs in non-Latin writing systems
- Updike, Daniel Berkeley (1922). Printing types, their history, forms and use, a study in survivals by Daniel Berkeley Updike. Vol. I. p. 108.
- M. B. Parkes (1993). "The Development of the General Repertory of Punctuation". Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780520079410.
- "Notes, references and bibliographies: Notes". Style manual (3 ed.). Canberra: Australian government publishing service. 1978.
- Eric Gill (2013) . An Essay on Typography. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780141393568.
- Stamp, Jimmy (10 July 2013). "The Origin of the Pilcrow, aka the Strange Paragraph Symbol". Design Decoded (a Smithsonian blog). Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Keith Houston (29 January 2015). "The Pilcrow". Shady characters : ampersands, interrobangs and other typographical curiosities. London: Penguin. p. 16. ISBN 9780718193881.
- Edwin Herbert Lewis (1894). The History of the English Paragraph. University of Chicago Press. p. 9.
- M. B. Parkes (1993). "Introduction: Glossary of Technical Terms". Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780520079410.
- M. B. Parkes (1993). "1. Antiquity: Aids for Inexperienced Readers and the Prehistory of Punctuation". Pause and Effect: Punctuation in the West. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 12. ISBN 9780520079410.
- Hoefler, Jonathan (12 March 2008). "Pilcrow & Capitulum". Typography.com. Hoefler&Co. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
It's tempting to recognize the symbol as a "P for paragraph," though the resemblance is incidental: in its original form, the mark was an open C crossed by a vertical line or two, a scribal abbreviation for capitulum, the Latin word for chapter.
- David Sacks (2003). "K and its Kompetitors". The Alphabet: Unravelling the Mystery of the Alphabet from A to Z. London: Hutchinson. p. 206. ISBN 9780091795061.
- Tschichold, Jan (1991) . "Why the Beginnings of Paragraphs Must Be Indented". In Bringhurst, Robert (ed.). Ausgewählte Aufsätze über Fragen der Gestalt des Buches und der Typographie [The form of the book : essays on the morality of good design]. Translated by Hajo Hadeler. London: Lund Humphries. pp. 105–109. ISBN 9780853316237. OCLC 220984255.
- Hildebrand, Joe; Hoffman, Paul E. (December 2016). Hildebrand, J (ed.). HTML Format for RFCs | §5.2 Pilcrows. Internet Architecture Board. doi:10.17487/RFC7992. RFC RFC7992.
- "Windows Alt Key Codes". Penn State University. 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010.
- "iPad Writing Tool". iDevices World – Australia. 2011. Archived from the original on 20 June 2011.
- "Thai" (PDF). Unicode. 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- A.M., Ruppel (2017). The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-1107088283.