The character or symbol commonly used to represent the word "and" is called an ampersand. The shape of the ampersand is based on the cursive lettering of the Latin word "et," which means "and."
The word "ampersand" is a contraction of the phrase "and per se and". In formal documentation, ampersands are typically only used as part of a proper noun (i.e. "Standard & Poor's") and not as a conjunction in the body of the text. The ampersand's use has also extended to Information Technology. It is used in many programming languages, such as C++, as a shorthand for combining two character strings together or as a way to add conditions to an event. It is ASCII character 38.