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I'm fully aware of the numero sign (it's the default way in my language), but in English I have seen the numero sign, number sign, the no, num and numb. abbreviations and so on.

For example, the ways used in English are not common in Spanish, Italian or Portuguese. Many people in these countries wouldn't even recognize the # sign as an abbreviation for number since numero is the most common way.

So my question is: is there a sign for number that is globally recognized? And if so: what to do about plurals?

  • What's the context? #1, #2, #3 and so on? Or enter some # of items? – TScott Aug 18 '16 at 21:06
  • No, I mean in general, both for labels and copy – Devin Aug 18 '16 at 21:16
  • Might be a good question for english.stackexchange.com – TScott Aug 18 '16 at 21:22
  • @TScott, quite the contrary. I'm aware of the English forms, I'm looking for a GLOBAL sign that can be understood by anybody or at least the largest range of people (assuming it exists) – Devin Aug 18 '16 at 21:47
  • Its curious how I never gave any though about this. I'm Portuguese and the most natural abbreviation to me is the numero sign . Although I've seen the # before I typically associate it with things that only by coincidence have something to do with numbers. Would you say numero sign is not easily recognizable in American English (or English speaking countries in general)? – armatita Aug 19 '16 at 8:58
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As you stated in your original question, the Numero sign is the most widely accepted generic symbol for "number". It even has a designated key on the Russian keyboard! (above the 3). I don't think it gets more universal than that (otherwise we would know about it, no?)

As for plurals, the only way I've seen it done is with adding an 's' after the Numero sign.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • Have you got any citations for your statement that "the Numero sign is the most widely accepted generic symbol for "number"? Or is this just an opinion? – JonW Aug 19 '16 at 6:59
  • The hash sign # is an American import into the the UK, which has occurred over the last 30 years. So its a bit of a moving ball in the UK with # getting a higher profile with younger people. I wondered what people actually used in the UK and have looked at the packets of food in the cupboard (where space is short for information). Neither # or No. are actually being used. (Tel No. has been replaced with "Tel" or just the a picture of a phone) – PhillipW Aug 19 '16 at 19:54

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