The ampersand. Means and in typical English writing.

In HTML it is can be written: &
ASCII values:

decimal 38
hex 0x26
octal 0046
binary 00100110
When placed in the Everything Search Box it no longer causes an error, but just takes to you to the main page. Try & and &
The & character represents a daemon in Nethack.

Also, in some shells (at least in Bourne shell derivatives) &-ending commands go into background, making them behave like daemons (the Jargon File sense). See the connection? =)

The ampersand is a ligature of E and T. If you look at it, you can see how it looks like a (lowercase) E and a T.

Despite the obvious conclusion that this is somehow related to ET, the frightening, horror-iblific alien bent on worldwide destruction, it actually is a condensed form of "et". "et" is the Latin word for "and".

So, when you use an ampersand, you're showing how scholarly you are and demonstrating your '3l33t hax0r' knowledge of Latin.
The ampersand is a UNIX metacharacter, which means that it is interpreted in a special way. Putting &; after a command on a UNIX terminal like so:

$ long-running-command &
(echoes the PID)
$

...would make the system run the command, but while it's running the command you are immediately returned to the shell prompt (CLI) for further trip.

& in C serves two purposes:
  • bitwise and (syn: bitand) which combines the bits of two values using the logical and operation
  • the unary address of operator, which gives the memory address of the next item.
  • In C++, variables declared with an & at the end of the type are references, which act like dereferenced pointers but have the syntax of normal variables.

Ok, so it serves three purposes in C++.

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