from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The symbol (#).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The hash or square symbol (#), used mainly in telephony and computing
Alteration (influenced by octo-) of earlier octalthorpe, the pound key, probably humorous blend of octal, an eight-point pin used in electronic connections (from the eight points of the symbol) and the name of James Edward Oglethorpe.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin disputed. Reportedly a jocular coinage by Bell Labs supervisor Don Macpherson in the early 1960s, from octo- ("eight"), with reference to its eight points, + -thorpe (after 1912 Olympic medalist Jim Thorpe, in whom Macpherson was interested). However, Doug Kerr attributes octatherp to a practical joke by engineers John C. Schaak, Herbert T. Uthlaut, and Lauren Asplund upon himself and Howard Eby. (Wiktionary)