from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A mark (— or ÷) used in ancient manuscripts to indicate a doubtful or spurious passage.
- n. Printing See obelisk.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A mark (÷) used to represent division in mathematics. Also used to indicate a written or printed passage, and in ancient manuscripts to mark a word or passage as spurious or doubtful.
- n. A dagger mark (†) used as a reference mark in printed matter, or to indicate that a person is deceased, often used to indicate a footnote.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A mark [thus —, or ÷]; -- so called as resembling a needle. In old MSS. or editions of the classics, it marks suspected passages or readings.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A mark, so called from its resemblance to a spit, usually made like a dash, thus —, or like an obelisk, thus , and employed in ancient manuscripts to indicate a suspected passage or reading.
Middle English, from Late Latin obelus, from Greek obelos, a spit, obelus.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)