I have gotten so used to "pound sign" in the specific context of robot-voice phone-tree instructions that when I was trying to navigate through my utility company's phone tree yesterday in hopes of being ultimately able to talk to a live human being I was totally baffled by an instruction to press the "number sign." I ended up pressing the the asterisk/star button twice before I rallied and remembered that was of course a synonym for "pound sign" rather than an unexpected way of referring to the other non-numerical option on the keypad.
The New York Times Crossword (Thursday, May 29th) had a clever play on this recently where the four theme answers were clued as #1, #2, #3, #4 and the answers were "Tic Tac Toe Board", "Pound Sign", "Space Mark" and "Twitter Hashtag." You can see the crossword grid at this blog…
In my intro-level computer science class, where we use C++, one of my students referred to the "hashtag include line", this past semester. I blinked for a second, then figured out what she meant, and thought—huh, this is the future.
(For those who haven't programmed in C or C++: the first lines of a program file usually start with "#include", hitherto nearly universally referred to verbally as "pound include", but that would seem to be changing.)
@blahedo: It seems to me that when I worked on programming in C, we just didn't pronounce the # at all. It was just read as "include"; everybody just knew that you needed to punctuate in properly. Other special characters, that couldn't so easily be omitted—such as * and &—we said by their function ("contents" and "address," I think).
I'm also a C (actually mostly C++) programmer, and I say "pound include", and I believe most of my coworkers do, too. Plain "include" could be confused with manually copying the included source into the file being discussed. If you've had the misfortune of using various code generation tools, there's also "percent include" to add to the confusion. Also "pound include" is similar to "pound if" (#if), which is very importantly different than plain "if".
I don't think I've ever heard "*" be said "contents". It's always "star" or, much more rarely "dereference". (Obviously, in other contexts, it can also be "glob".) I've heard of people saying "splat", but I've never actually seen it.
I've been programming C for not quite twenty years, for what that's worth.
Since # has never meant pound in the UK, and only in the last fifty years or so beautiful number, it has never been called pound sign or number sign.
In my universe, #include is universally hash include. I have honestly never heard "pound include".
'Pound symbol'. Although I'm sure cases of ambiguities exist, but this is one case where 'sign' must be the most common with #. And I'd bet that 'pound sign' rarely refers to the pound sterling symbol, at least in the US.
Amusingly (or perhaps not: YMMV), the captions for Game of Thrones, Season Three, at least on Amazon Instant Video's version, sometimes use "£" when they obviously mean "number." For example, in a scene with three men talking, the second man might be referred to as "Man £2". This confused me a bit, until I realized the idea is "£ = Pound, Pound = #, # = Number", thus, "£ = Number." (Who can argue with that logic?).
I don't know if this oddity occurs in the other seaons, or just season three, nor whether the non-Amazon Instant Video versions have it. But, I only noticed it on that season and that version.
Seen in Leah Garchik's column in the SF Chronicle, Monday 7 July: "…heard a teenager tell a group of friends, "I found my mom's old cell phone, like, from the '80s. How did they know back then that the hashtag would be used now?"