Origin of octothorpeCoined in the 1960s by researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories octo- ( probably in reference to the eight endpoints of the lines in the symbol ) -thorpe (perhaps from thorp in reference to the resemblance of the symbol to a village surrounded by fields ) (or afterJames Francis Thorpe because one of the researchers was an advocate of the restoration of Thorpe's Olympic medals )
- (chiefly US) The hash or square symbol (#), used mainly in telephony and computing
Origin disputed. Reportedly a jocular coinage by Bell Labs supervisor Don Macpherson in the early 1960s, from octo- (“eight"), with reference to its eight points, + -thorpe (after 1912 Olympic medalist Jim Thorpe, in whom Macpherson was interested). However, Doug Kerr attributes octatherp to a practical joke by engineers John C. Schaak, Herbert T. Uthlaut, and Lauren Asplund upon himself and Howard Eby.
The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories (1991) supports octotherp as the original spelling, and telephone engineers as the source.
octothorpe - Computer Definition