## 4/2/11

### What Does The Squiggly, Squiggle, Tilde ~ Sign on Keyboard Key For ?

What Does The Squiggly, Squiggle, Tilde ~ Sign on Keyboard Key For  ?

You may have seen the squiggle or squiggly " ~ " sign on your computer keyboard before. It is located on the top part of the left uppermost key on your keyboard.  My guess is that the tilde ~ is one of your least used keys next to the scroll lock key and the MS Windows logo key.
The ~ sign  is generally referred to as a "tilde" but it as other names such as squiggly, squiggle, twiddle, enyay, and ene.  I suspect there are others.

What Does it Mean ?

The tilde ~ sign has different meanings. In mathematics (where number-guys call it a "twiddle" ) and economics it can be put between figures to represent equivalency. For example if subject or variable A is equivalent to B, you could put it as A ~ B.  It can also represent approximations such as  ~4  or "approximately four."

It also has a pronunciation function. You may have seen this sign over Spanish letters such as an ene or the "N" with the tilde (or ene) over it. I have a hard time describing the sound but you may have heard the Spanish name Pena (only spelled with the ~ over the "n" :-).

The Common Use for Internet Google Purposes
If you are not using the ~ tilde for mathematical purposes or in your everyday spelling, you could use it to improve your Google internet searches.  The tilde (or squiggle or squiggly or twiddle) can be used to tell Google that you are looking for the search term you enter and any synonyms related to that search term.
When using the tilde to hone or expand your Google search simply place it immediately before your search word with no space.  If you want to search for the word "transportation" plus all of the other words that mean the same thing, you'd type ~transportation into your web browser, then search.
Some, say the ~ sign  is a little redundant since Google will often provide relevant (and not so relevant :-) synonyms. This is somewhat true as internet writers often use SEO contextual keywords, meta tags, etc to give their articles a boost when related words and phrases are searched. In short, Google knows to find words with similar definitions.
Personally though, I say, if you are stumped, give the tilde a try.  As you know, sometimes the smallest changes to your internet search provide big changes to your results. You might find using the ~ a big help.