The asterisk is a symbol.


While easily typed by holding the shift key and pressing 8, the * is also found above the numeric keypad as it represents multiplication in mathematics. It can also be called up by holding the alt key and pressing 0042. (key locations are based on a standard qwerty keyboard)

Another use for the * is as a meta character in search strings. While the question mark (?) is generally the meta character to replace a single unknown character, the asterisk is used to replace an unknown number of characters, including none.

eg. If I had a searchable database of the dictionary, and I was unsure if bookkeeper had one or two k's, I could do a search for "book*eeper". Also, if I wanted to know all words that began with the letters book, I could enter the string "book*"