Hat, control, uparrow, chevron, shark-fin, fang, call it what you will: the caret is a wedge-shaped mark made on written or printed matter. Although the caret is used widely in ASCII and unicode, in publishing it is more commonly recognised as a proofreading mark, which is where it has its origin. In Latin, caret means ‘it lacks’, so the name describes its function as the proofreading mark that indicates the place where something — a punctuation mark, a word, a phrase — should be inserted. The mark to be inserted is generally placed within the caret and it is written below the line of text for a line-level punctuation mark such as a comma, or above the line as an inverted caret for a character such as an apostrophe.

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