The modern “&" logogram is derived from the Old Roman cursive shorthand conflation of the Latin "et", meaning "and". In time, this ligature came to represent the same word in other languages. "&" was once considered the 27th letter of the English alphabet. In traditional primary school recitation, it was common practice to precede any letter that could also be a word, such as "A" or "I”, and of course “&" with the Latin "per se" meaning "by itself". This means the spoken alphabet would end "W, X, Y, Z, and per se AND”. The slurring of the final phrase gives us “ampersand”, which was officially recognized by dictionaries in 1837.