In typography, a symbol (&) used as an abbreviation of the word "and." The ampersand was originally a ligature (a single character formed from the combination of two separate ones, in this case et, the Latin word for "and") and expressed as et per se ("et by itself, and"), which became corrupted to and per se and and, finally, ampersand. In some ampersand designs, the e and t are distinguishable. A small-cap ampersand often works better than the standard cap version, especially when used with lowercase letters. The ampersand is commonly used in company names and titles, but in running text looks sloppy and is inappropriate.