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sigil

by da (Friar)
on Aug 06, 2001 at 07:38 UTC ( #102385=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Nomenclature
in thread Polysignant variables

If the proper name for %, $, @, and * are sigils, I suspect polysigilant is a more proper term for what you describe, even though it's more of a mouthful than polysignet.

I suggest polytypic.

As to whether it's a good idea to do it, I really prefer my variables to be self-documenting all the way through the code, and it seems an unneccessary shortcut. If I did it, it probably would lead to confusion down the road.

Update: I'm not able to come up with the origin of the word sigil, but I first saw it in Damian Conway's Exegesis 2, and I know the term is used by gnat and japhy.

___ -DA > perl -MPOSIX -e'$ENV{TZ}="US/Eastern";print ctime(10**9)' Sat Sep 8 21:46:40 2001

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Re: sigil
by Dominus (Parson) on Nov 10, 2003 at 23:40 UTC
    Says [da]:
    I'm not able to come up with the origin of the word sigil, but I first saw it in Damian Conway's Exegesis 2, and I know the term is used by gnat and japhy.
    The term 'sigil' to mean the funny character at the front of a Perl variable was coined on 3 March 1999 by Philip Gwyn. I immediately posted about it to p5p:

    The source code actually uses the term `funny characters' to refer to the $@%*& characters that select the variable type. This terminology leaves a lot to be desired, but until now, I'd never heard a better suggestion. They don't really have a good name. This has sometimes been a problem for me when I've written documentation. The temptation is to pretend that the funny character is part of the variable name, which it isn't.

    Philip Gwyn just used the word `sigil'. This struck me as a really wonderful coinage that shouldn't be lost. The spelling of `sigil' suggests `sign', which is good, and the word doesn't presently have any other meaning in the Perl context, also good.

    Glancing over man pages like `perldata' I can see a lot of places where the explanations would become simpler or more accurate if the word `sigil' were used.

    Finally, according to the dictionary here, it means:

    A sign or image considered magical.
    Which is a really perfect description of it.

    The term started catching on right away, and has gradually gained popularity.

        The term 'sigil' to mean the funny character at the front of a Perl variable was coined on 3 March 1999 by Philip Gwyn.

        No one claimed he coined the word, only the usage.

Re: sigil
by John M. Dlugosz (Monsignor) on Aug 06, 2001 at 08:25 UTC
    I've seen signet used reciently, in official circles. I remember looking it up, after reading something by Larry or Damian.

    Sigil is another word for signet. (http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=sigil)

    —John

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