from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The diacritical mark ( ˜ ), used for example over the letter n in Spanish to indicate the palatal nasal sound (ny), as in cañón, “canyon,” and over the vowels a and o in Portuguese to indicate nasalization, as in pão, “bread.”

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A diacritic mark (˜) placed over the letter n in Spanish to indicate that it is sounded as a palatal n, or very nearly like n followed by y, as in señor, pronounced sã˙nyôr′ , cañon, pronounced känyôn′ , and hence in English written canyon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The accentual mark placed over n, and sometimes over l, in Spanish words [thus, ñ, �], indicating that, in pronunciation, the sound of the following vowel is to be preceded by that of the initial, or consonantal, y.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The grapheme of character ~.
  • noun A key found on some types of keyboards.
  • noun logic The character used to represent negation, usually ~ or ¬.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a diacritical mark (~) placed over the letter n in Spanish to indicate a palatal nasal sound or over a vowel in Portuguese to indicate nasalization


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Spanish, alteration of obsolete Catalan title, from Latin titulus, superscription.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish tilde, from Latin titulus ("superscript").



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  • Tilde Accent: jalapeño

    December 19, 2006

  • There's a cool article I happened to find and have no affiliation with whatsoever.

    February 3, 2007

  • This symbol is used in various places as a "not" symbol, sometimes pronounced as "twiddle", with "~=" akin to "!=".

    February 3, 2007

  • I always thought that use meant approximately, not not. Handwritten on paper you'd see one tilde drawn above another, to make a squiggly equals sign. It's the visual cue for for "fuzzy" equality, used when the answer is close to a given value but probably not exactly that value. Just like the analog counterpart to != is an equals sign with a slash through it, evoking a "no parking" symbol to nullify the operator. Then again, we all tend to draw symbols differently, and maybe use different visual cues; so I'm not saying you're wrong. I just haven't seen that before.

    By the way, let's set the record straight... is it pronounced "tild" or "tildee?" Or "twiddle," which is another thing I've never seen before?

    February 4, 2007

  • Twiddle is a thing used in math. I've heard the pronunciations "tild", "tildee", and "tild-uh". I can't remember where I saw ~= used to be not equals, so I'll have to track it down. I've also seen ~ used to be about equals.

    February 4, 2007

  • I've always pronounced it "tildeh," or "tild-uh," as seanahan listed it. I have only ever known it as the symbol inkhorn cited so I can't speak to that usage, though OED lists its secondary meaning as "a symbol in Math. and Logic, chiefly to indicate negation."

    February 13, 2007

  • I stand corrected. I need to pick up the OED. Or is it searchable online?

    February 13, 2007

  • It's searchable online, but I believe you have to be a subscriber to use it. My employer is a subscriber and I use it frequently at work.

    They do have an RSS feed (or is that redundant?) for a Word of the Day, which I've never used but it seems like it would be fun. Maybe I'll try it.

    February 13, 2007

  • also known as the 'swung dash'.

    April 23, 2008

  • =~ (not ~=) is used in the computer language Perl, and acts as the "binding operator" for regular expressions.

    January 6, 2009