Help Decipher Poorly written Email address
September 3, 2010 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I need help deciphering a written email address. My friend was on a train to NYC when he met a couple from Italy. They were visiting NY and NJ for the first time. They talked the whole ride and when it was time to depart they quickly scribbled their email address onto a piece of paper. The email address is hard to read. Its is something with Please look at the hand writing and let me know what you think it is. Follow this link to view the image.
posted by wheats to Writing & Language (57 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite is what I see...
posted by avocet at 6:39 PM on September 3, 2010
posted by cmcmcm at 7:06 PM on September 3, 2010
posted by melancholyplay at 7:06 PM on September 3, 2010
posted by francesca too at 7:08 PM on September 3, 2010

That's awful, man. My wife and I have been staring at it for like ten minutes. Ok, she went back to World of Warcraft 5 minutes ago but I'm still staring at it. That is rough. Jesus Christ.

Are the four characters on top part of it?

I read them as, but even that I'm not sure about.

The rest of the string? I'm going with.. with a 100% margin of error.
posted by kbanas at 7:34 PM on September 3, 2010

enriceoligo - the part above is a repetition of oligo which they realized was totally illegible below.

I admit that I'm only getting enrice because avocet said enrica - I can make heads nor tails of it in reality.
posted by Dasein at 7:37 PM on September 3, 2010

Lucky for them we can't read it really ...
posted by Xhris at 7:39 PM on September 3, 2010

Oh, duh. I don't know how I didn't see that.
posted by kbanas at 7:40 PM on September 3, 2010

posted by kmennie at 7:40 PM on September 3, 2010

You know, I thought it was a l at first, too, but I figured since everyone else put an e I was all wet.. but maybe not.

I've also been trying to Google search them - there's a chance the correct one is embedded in some HTML somewhere out there in the void, right? That would at least be something to try.
posted by kbanas at 7:43 PM on September 3, 2010

It looks like linoreowgo or lenoreowgo to me. Maybe even lmoreowgo. Oligo sounds like a more plausible name, but it sure looks like "owgo."

OR! Emile, it could be. Emile Oligo?
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:45 PM on September 3, 2010

Could it be Italian for "to send (mail)", followed by the last name?

posted by cmgonzalez at 7:47 PM on September 3, 2010

My guess is

You can see the "e-n-r" pretty clearly, and I'll argue that the scribble that follows is the i with a line to where the dot should go, followed by an "o". Enrico is also a common Italian name, (at least, according to the baby name pages I Googled.)

I'm assuming Origo rather than Oligo for two reasons: first, that second letter is not made the same way the writer makes their other "L"s, and second "Enrico Origo" produced hits on Google (albeit none with an attached e-mail address) whereas Enrico Oligo did not.

It's a rough best guess, but I think that's all any of us are going to be able to provide.

Best of luck.
posted by zueod at 7:48 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could send the email to one address and BCC all the other possibilities just to cover your bases. Then you'll figure out which is correct when they reply or if you get any bouncebacks.
posted by rancidchickn at 7:48 PM on September 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

Or inviareorigo@
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:51 PM on September 3, 2010
posted by the noob at 7:59 PM on September 3, 2010


I don't think they want anybody to write to them.
posted by sageleaf at 8:17 PM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by sunshinesky at 8:17 PM on September 3, 2010

Another vote for the last part being "origo"
posted by leahwrenn at 8:35 PM on September 3, 2010

I think the last bit may be "orugo"
posted by selfmedicating at 8:48 PM on September 3, 2010

I don't have an opinion on origo/orugo/oligo but I read "encore" for the first part of the email. It may seem like a stretch but that is how I would write encore. (If I was drunk or didn't want someone to really email me.)
posted by 58 at 9:16 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I see "encore" also.
posted by hermitosis at 9:24 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

The first bit reads like "ernice" to me, which I didn't think was an actual first name but Google disagrees with me. It's probably less likely than "enrico" though.
posted by purplecrackers at 9:25 PM on September 3, 2010

After you figure this out, you should get this page pulled down. They are about to get ridiculous amounts of spam, and it's really not the whole web's business what their email address is.
posted by alternateuniverse at 9:30 PM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Note that it also seems common in Europe to have email addresses with a period between the first and last name, so include those variations if you're going to try a BCC fest.
posted by maxwelton at 10:56 PM on September 3, 2010

The first difficulty is that this was clearly scrawled. If you look closely, it's apparent that letters were written at different angles, as though the page was shaking or there were other reasons for the writer to move her/his hand around in a way that she/he wasn't used to. Of course, that's what the question says, so we knew that; but it means that there's some deviation in what we can say clearly about it.

However, it seems clear, I think that the first letter is one of three: e, l, or i, probably in that order of likelihood. 'e' is the most immediate option, largely because we have two e's with which to compare it – the two in the ending word (which we can be pretty much certain of, since it's a well-known domain). And if we compare the leading letter with those two e's, it seems very similar to the second one: a high loop, the same boxed curve at the top. The second e is smaller, but that's probably because it's later in the text. Also, the first e in tele2 directly follows a t, and those letters seem elided, explaining the difference.

The next possibility for the first letter is 'l,' and I think that's a likelihood, as well. The 'l' in tele2 is very similar to the first letter, for many of the same reasons as the e above. However, it seems to me less likely, largely because the username, unlike the domain ',' seems relatively well-centered on the line, and the first character doesn't seem to hang above the line that much, although it does flourish upwards a little.

I am, however, almost certain that it's not an 'i.' In fact, that's one of the most interesting things here: notice the example of an 'i' that we have, an example which occurs in isolation and is therefore (I think) more compelling: the i in Here, you can see that the i isn't the typical cursive i that many of us might be familiar with, an i that is formed with a looping curve up and then down. It's a particular habit this writer appears to have when dotting his i's; to my eye (I may be wrong) it appears that she or he is drawing the i mostly with a downstroke, then swinging the pen down and back to the upper left to draw the dot.

To move on from the initial letter, that's why 'oligo' seems compelling to many here, I think. That means deciding that both attempts at the word (the one above is apparently meant as clarification) are utter failures, but I can accept that, frankly – as a letter 'w,' I find that formation rather flowery, strange, and unconvincing, with its rounded humps and accentuated center. It does make sense of the strangely accentuated upper right corner of the formation, however, if that accentuation is actually supposed to be a dotted i, and the curve drawn is merely the result of a hurried hand neglecting to pull the pen from the paper.

This is more personal, but I'm convinced the second letter is an 'm.' It's a lot of jagged up-and-down humps, and that could be an accidental extension of an 'n', but the third hump seems too well-formed to me to be fully accidental; it seems distinctly like the termination of a letter m to me.

And that brings us to the real enigma here: what in god's name follows the m-like thing? It looks a lot like a standard cursive r (staring at that chart can be helpful, by the way) but it seems odd that that would happen here, and there are some things wrong with it. The writer evidently hesitated between the m and this letter, because the line rises and then falls before finally stroking upwards. It's hard to get anything out of that, but contextually I'm inclined to see an 'il' there. The confusion with an i would make sense, given that the writer appears to be used to stroking her/his i's downward (or at least primarily downward) and that he/she seemingly has had trouble with i's (in 'oligo') elsewhere on this page.

Also, if that's an 'il,' then we get the (relatively common) name 'emile,' or perhaps 'emilio', which, with the two i's, would explain the difficulty even better. However, unfortunately, 'emilio' seems unlikely considering the last character in this chunk, which looks distinctly different from the other o's on the sheet. Those other o's are formed by spiral and by the catch-and-pull-back sort of method, which creates a little corner and then turns around the circle from it; but this looks just like the e's we were seeing earlier. Furthermore, and maybe more importantly, if there were a set of double o's in the middle of the name (as there would have to be if it were 'emiliooligo') then one would thing that that might be at least a touchstone for the writer in writing it; she or he might at least have thought to make the two o's similar if that were the case.

My vote is for '' Your friend should send a note to a bunch of the better guesses and let us know which one succeeds. Just, er, do it in metalk – without any @ sign.
posted by koeselitz at 12:29 AM on September 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

You can look at it, write dowm all possibilities, then cc all the addresses I. The email yr gonna write....only 1 isn't going to come back since it's a pretty long address.

Trial and error always works...and you have nothing to lose here except getting some undeliverable ccs.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:55 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going with emreowgo. Or maybe emileowgo.
posted by platinum at 1:29 AM on September 4, 2010

Could the top part be their twitter? @name
posted by cj_ at 2:13 AM on September 4, 2010

(The @ there could just be them testing the pen ink though. It looks more "spirally" than the @ they used in the email address.)
posted by cj_ at 2:15 AM on September 4, 2010

to me it looks quite convincingly like

if you have an italian restaurant in the area where you're quite certain there's an authentic italian who was raised there, go ask him. there's a reason i'm telling you this. I took Italian for a bit, with Italians- and learned that they have a certain way of writing that defies the way I'm used to people writing but that's quite normal for them. only a couple letters are much different but they look like different letters to my (american-trained) eyes. anyway, i think you should definitely try
posted by saraindc at 2:32 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

agree with saraindc that you it would help to get italian eyes on this. i studied italian in college (and in italy) and i became familiar with italian handwriting, though not as much as someone native. i say definitely emileoligo.
1. origo sounds awful to me in italian. oligo sounds great. gotta be an L.
2. the first name ends with an e, not an o (as in the enrico some posit). note how this person ends o's (as in both oligos). the letter closes back where it started. it does not end with a downstroke.
3. we know from oligo that the writer dots the i immediately after writing it, and that the stroke from the body of the i can be connected to the i dot. therefore it's an i after the m.
4. we know from oligo that the writer does not send their Ls up very high. thus i posit an L after the i in emile. besides, "emice" sounds terrible.
posted by nevers at 4:44 AM on September 4, 2010

Googling Origo vs Oligo seems to suggest that Origo is a fairly common surname in Italian, whereas I found only 1-2 Oligos.

For the first name I'd hesitate between Emile and Enrico. Emile seems more likely, except that the E is quite fat there whereas the ones in are a lot narrower.

For the record I also see "Enzo" as a possibility for the first 4 (?) letters, but then there's 2 letters in the middle that are unaccounted for, and that weird squiggle is more likely to be an i, judging by the way he spelled "Origo".
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:53 AM on September 4, 2010

Chiming in as another who pretty clearly sees "encore" as the first part of this.
posted by Decani at 6:19 AM on September 4, 2010

"to me it looks quite convincingly like"

To me, too.
posted by HopperFan at 6:35 AM on September 4, 2010

I've tried every email address suggested so far by telnetting to's mail server and talking SMTP to it, and every one has returned "511 sorry, no mailbox here by that name". Here's a transcript in case I missed one.
posted by mendel at 6:41 AM on September 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

You didn't try inviareoligo/inviareorigo, mendel.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:34 AM on September 4, 2010

Origo is an actual Italian family name.
posted by nangar at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2010

No way is that oligo. What would be an "L" is in no way like the known "L" in "tele2." It wasn't even shaking all that much because they stay on the line they're writing on until they start to run out of room.

I hate to tell you this, but this is total chicken scratch. Any guess at all is a total guess. You can email all of the dozens or hundreds of plausible possibilities, or forget your Italian friends.

I mean, my handwriting is hard to read for other people sometimes, but jeez. It's like they tried to make it indecipherable, which is a possibility, I guess.
posted by cmoj at 8:17 AM on September 4, 2010

Well, I couldnt read any of it, but enrico and enrica would both make sense as a first name with oligo being a last name.
posted by 3mendo at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2010

There's another Origo here.
posted by nangar at 11:00 AM on September 4, 2010

No way is that oligo. What would be an "L" is in no way like the known "L" in "tele2."

That doesn't necessarily matter—I have a pretty tidy and consistent writing style and depending on where an 'L' appears in a word, or when I'm writing, they can vary from strong stand-alone uprights to loops connected to the letters on each side to having an upstroke from the previous letter but still not being loops.
posted by felix grundy at 11:41 AM on September 4, 2010

Looks like "envoie" to me, followed by oligo or origo. Envoie means "send" in French, maybe there is an Italian cognate. But my guess is that it is simply origo@tele2 or oligo@tele2, both of which are natural seeming emails in the manner of, and the first part "envoie" is not actually part of the address.
posted by Rumple at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2010

I see "emreowgo."

As an aside, this is exactly why I ordered a box of cheap business cards with just my name, email address, phone number, and website URL. The cards cost less than $10 - totally worth it to have that info in a perfectly legible format.
posted by ErikaB at 12:27 PM on September 4, 2010

A few possibile interpretations of the scribbled first name that haven't been mentioned yet: Lucio, Lucie, Eunice.
posted by Balonious Assault at 12:33 PM on September 4, 2010

I'll also put forward the idea it says "email origo@tele2"
posted by Rumple at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can't venture a guess about the exact email address, but from a human-interaction standpoint, it seems pretty clear that the first line ("owgo" or whatever) is the Italian person writing their first/surname for the OP's friend to remember, then the 2nd line is the actual address. In which case, the first part of the 2nd line could be the equivalent of "email to" and the next part the address, or it could be a compound address that includes the name.




posted by turducken at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2010
posted by uauage at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I know because italians all spell the same, and after 12 years living here I'd eat my hat if that weren't enrica origo.
posted by uauage at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

and by spell I meant pen.
posted by uauage at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2010

Well, we know what's not working.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:24 PM on September 4, 2010

...and from the same sociological perspective, I'd guess that whatever the person's name is ("owgo" or "owzo" etc.), the first part of the email address is probably "encore." Cutesy email addresses are an international scourge.
posted by turducken at 2:28 PM on September 4, 2010

Could we please avoid phrasing our guesses as "" There's a MetaTalk thread about this thread.

mendel checked all the guesses by by a certain point in the thread and found that none them were real email addresses, so no harm done. But the couple wheat's friend met meant to give their email address to that person, not to publish it all across the internet.
posted by nangar at 3:45 PM on September 4, 2010

Did you try Eurice for the first name? I think the last name is clearly Oligo.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:39 PM on September 4, 2010

uauage has it: it's enricaorigo (at) tele2 (dot) it
posted by _dario at 7:50 PM on September 4, 2010

Yep, uauage does have it:
rcpt to:<enricaorigo(-at-)>
250 ok

posted by mendel at 9:43 PM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Phew... I don't have to eat my hat. Ha!
posted by uauage at 10:58 PM on September 4, 2010

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