Guillemets (pron-en|ˈɡɪləmɛt, or IPAlink-en|ɡiːəˈmeɪ after French IPAlink|ɡijmɛ), also called angle quotes, are line segments, pointed as if arrows (« or »), sometimes forming a complementary set of punctuation marks used as a form of quotation mark.The symbol at either end — double « and » or single ‹ and › — is a guillemet. They are used in a number of languages to indicate speech. They are also referred to as symbols for fast forward and rewind.


Used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages:
* Albanian
* Arabic
* Armenian
* Belarusian
* Bulgarian
* Catalan
* Estonian
* Franco-Provençal
* French (separated by spaces « like this »)
* Galician
* German (only in Switzerland)
* Greek
* Italian
* North Korean (in South Korea " is used)
* Latvian
* Lithuanian
* Norwegian
* Persian
* Polish usually to indicate a quote inside a quote (nowadays, though incorrectly, more often used pointing inwards)
* Portuguese (European)
* Romanian, only to indicate a quotation within a quotation
* Russian, and some languages of the former Soviet Union using Cyrillic script
* Spanish (although their use is uncommon outside Spain)
* Swiss languages
* Turkish
* Ukrainian
* Vietnamese

Used pointing inwards (»like this«) to indicate speech in these languages:
* Croatian
* Czech
* Danish
* German (Except in Switzerland. „...“ is also used)
* Hungarian
* Serbian
* Slovak
* Slovene

Used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:
* Finnish
* Swedish


A guillemet is sometimes used to indicate direction, for example:
* fast forward button on a media player, or fast rewind indicated by the complementary guillemet
* a chevron on road signage to show road direction, or multiple chevrons pointing in the same direction for emphasis
* as an alternative to an ellipsis in a document, for example to indicate additional content. The guillemet is balanced in the spine height of the line for most fonts, so it is more visible than an ellipsis.

Other uses

*Guillemets are used in Chinese to indicate the title of a book. For instance, 《汤姆·索亚历险记》 is Chinese for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".
*In the RPL programming language, guillemets are used to demarcate the beginning and end of a program.


The word is a diminutive of the French name "Guillaume" (whose equivalent in English is "William"), after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume le Bé (1525–1598). [ [ Character design standards - Punctuation 1 ] ] [ [ . decode . LEFT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK ] ] Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously; for example, the Irish term is "Liamóg", from "Liam" 'William' and a diminutive suffix.

Guillemets in computing

Typing "«" and "»" on computers

For Windows users, type "«" by holding Alt + 0171 and "»" by holding Alt + 0187. The characters are standard on French Canadian keyboards and some others.

For Macintosh users, type "«" as Option-Backslash and "»" as Option-Shift-Backslash. (This applies to all English-language keyboard layouts supplied with the operating system, e.g. "Australian", "British", "Canadian", "U.S." and "U.S. Extended". Other language layouts may differ.)

For GNU/Linux users, it would depend on a number of factors including the keyboard layout that is in effect, whether you were using X Window. For example with US International Keyboard layout selected you would type Alt Gr + [ for "«" and Alt Gr + "] " for "»". On some configurations you type "«" as Alt Gr + z and "»" as Alt Gr + x. With the compose key, press Compose + < + < and Compose + > + >.

Guillemets are often produced with double inequality characters (<< or >>) or double chevrons (〈〈 or 〉〉) particularly on computers with operating systems or keyboards that do not have support for the actual characters.


In Unicode, the « character is called "left-pointing double angle quotation mark", and exists at code point U+00AB (HTML entity &amp;laquo;), whilst the » character is named "right-pointing double angle quotation mark", and is located at code point U+00BB (HTML entity &amp;raquo;). Despite their names, the characters are mirrored when used in right-to-left contexts.


Guillemets are used in Unified Modeling Language to indicate a stereotype of a standard element.

Mail Merge

Microsoft Word uses guillemets when creating mail merges. Microsoft use these punctuation marks to denote a mail merge "field", such as "«Title»", "«AddressBlock»" or "«GreetingLine»". Then on the final print-out, the guillemet-marked tags are replaced by the corresponding data outlined for that field by the user.

Guillemet vs. guillemot

In Adobe Systems font software, their file format specifications, and in all fonts derived from these that contain the characters, the word is incorrectly spelled "guillemot" (a malapropism: guillemots are actually a type of bird) in the names of the two glyphs "guillemotleft" and "guillemotright". Adobe acknowledges the error but says that the incorrect names are the ones actually used in existing fonts and software; [Adobe Systems Inc., "PostScript Language Reference" 3rd edition, Addison Wesley 1999. ISBN 0-201-37922-8. Character set endnote 3, page 783. ] presumably, it is too late to change it, as it would break existing software.

Likewise, X11 (X Window System) mistakenly calls them XK_guillemotleft and XK_guillemotright in the file "keysymdef.h".

See also

* Bracket
* Chevron
* Keyboard (computing)
* Quotation mark


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guillemets — « » Guillemets ([gijˈmɛ]; Singular: Guillemet) sind spezielle Anführungszeichen, die durch je zwei spitze Klammern dargestellt werden. Diese Form der Anführungszeichen stellt im Französischen und den anderen romanischen Sprachen die normale… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Guillemets — (fr., spr. Gülljemäh), so v.w. Anführungszeichen (Gänsefüßchen) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Guillemets — (franz., spr. gij mä), soviel wie Anführungszeichen (s. d.), angeblich nach dem Namen ihres Erfinders, Guillemet, so genannt …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Guillemets — Guillemet « » Ponctuation Accolades ( { } ) · Parenthèses ( ( ) )  Chevrons ( < > ) · Crochets ( [ ] )  Guillemets ( « » ou “ ” )  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • guillemets — Кавычки «ёлочки» (French quotes, Guillemets, Chevrons)     Парные знаки препинания, употребляемые для выделения названий, прямой речи, цитат и др. Во Франции, Италии и России их обычно применяют остриями наружу, а в Германии – наоборот, остриями… …   Шрифтовая терминология

  • guillemets — n. pl. Quotation points or marks, marks of quotation, inverted commas …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • Guillemets français — Guillemet « » Ponctuation Accolades ( { } ) · Parenthèses ( ( ) )  Chevrons ( < > ) · Crochets ( [ ] )  Guillemets ( « » ou “ ” )  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Prix entre guillemets — Le prix Entre guillemets est décerné chaque année par un jury composé par des élèves des classes de 4e et 3e de la ville de Chateaubriant. Il couronne un auteur de récits pour la jeunesse. Le dernier vote a lieu au cours d un dîner au restaurant… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Entre mes guillemets — Album par Art Mengo Sortie 2006 Label Kabassa Prod Albums de Art Mengo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ouvrez les guillemets — Genre magazine Présentation Bernard Pivot Pays  France Langue français …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.