Name that sign...
April 26, 2006 9:03 PM   Subscribe

dictionary filter: Is there a word for the universal "no" sign, that circle with the line through it? You know, the red one?
posted by provocateur to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Believe it or not, it's called the no symbol.
posted by amro at 9:08 PM on April 26, 2006

I always call it the "ghostbuster sign" and people know what I'm talking about.
posted by visual mechanic at 9:16 PM on April 26, 2006

The slash is a bar sinister, and 90% of people who aren't paying attention draw it wrong. Properly, it starts in the upper left and ends in the lower right.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:18 PM on April 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Interdiction symbol
posted by Joleta at 9:21 PM on April 26, 2006

I think I remember in algebra it was called the "null set" or the "nil set"
posted by Sara Anne at 9:21 PM on April 26, 2006

Unicode calls it a "combining enclosing circle backslash" (⃠)
posted by gubo at 9:25 PM on April 26, 2006

The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) probably gave it a name in its ISO 7001 standard (public information symbols), but the text is copyrighted and not available anywhere on the web for free, it seems.
posted by gubo at 9:44 PM on April 26, 2006

People probably draw it wrong, Steven C., 'cause of Ghostbusters, actually. It had to be turned that way so the ghost would look right.
posted by limeonaire at 10:12 PM on April 26, 2006

My typography professor calls it a "buster".
posted by idiotfactory at 10:28 PM on April 26, 2006

It had to be turned that way so the ghost would look right.

If that's truly the case, then that's just poor design. Draw the ghost facing the other way; problem solved.

That said, it's the finest movie logo there is. It's a thing of beauty.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:53 PM on April 26, 2006

"Bar Sinister" huh? I always grew up thinking it was an anti-semetic name concocted by the writers of Underdog.
posted by sourwookie at 12:10 AM on April 27, 2006

"I always grew up "

Cause I grow up all the time. In the present progressive nonetheless.
posted by sourwookie at 12:11 AM on April 27, 2006

Did I just call "grew" present progressive? Shoot me now.
posted by sourwookie at 12:16 AM on April 27, 2006

It's not a bar sinister, it's a bend sinister (heck it's a baton sinister) and it properly goes from upper right to lower left. Placing it over a coat of arms seems to have been the shorthand for indicating oneself as a bastard:
N.B. In French heraldic works the word barre is used as equivalent to a bend sinister, and this is supposed in many cases to be a mark of bastardy, Hence the expression is often found of a bar sinister, meaning a bend sinister
/comicbookstoreguy (also, limericks)

(Wikipedia is wrong as of this moment)

I don't have a reference for the theory that the negative connotations from heraldry resulted in the red slash across meaning "no", but Wikipedia suggests it.

(Personally I like "buster" as a name for it, like "splat" for the asterisk)
posted by fleacircus at 12:40 AM on April 27, 2006

I've always called this symbol a "circle-slash".

fleacircus is right that it's not a bar sinister. However, it's not a bend sinister either -- the real "no symbol" appears to be a bend on an annulet, not a bend sinister on an annulet. But the Ghostbusters version does indeed have a bend sinister.

btw fleacircus, the Parker link you posted clarifies the bastardy issue as follows: "According to Nisbet, bends sinister were formerly much borne in Scotland, but have generally been changed to dexter bends of late, from a mistaken notion that they always betokened illegitimacy. It is the sinister baton (or diminutive bend couped), which alone conveys this disgrace. In Germany the bend is borne almost as frequently sinister as dexter." (emphasis mine)
posted by litlnemo at 4:33 AM on April 27, 2006

I've always thought it was called the International No, or International No Symbol, etc. Not sure where I learned that, though.
posted by hyperfascinated at 9:25 PM on April 27, 2006

I've often heard it called the "internation ban sign"
posted by folara at 10:11 PM on April 27, 2006

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