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Guillemets (/ˈɡɪləmɛt/,[1][2] also UK: /ˈɡm/,[3] US: /ˌɡ(j)əˈm, ˌɡɪləˈmɛt/,[4] French: [ɡijəmɛ]) are a pair of punctuation marks in the form of sideways double chevrons, « and », used as quotation marks in a number of languages. In some of these languages, "single" guillemets, and , are used for a quotation inside another quotation. Guillemets are not conventionally used in the English language.


Guillemets may also be called angle, Latin, Castilian, Spanish, or French quotes / quotation marks.[citation needed]

Guillemet is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume, apparently after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–1598),[5] though he did not invent the symbols: they first appear in a 1527 book printed by Josse Bade.[6] Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously: the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix.[citation needed]

In Adobe software, its file format specifications, and in all fonts derived from these that contain the characters, the glyph names are incorrectly spelled guillemotleft and guillemotright (a malapropism: guillemot is actually a species of seabird). Adobe has acknowledged the error.[7] Likewise, X11 mistakenly uses XK_guillemotleft and XK_guillemotright to name keys producing the characters.


Guillemets are smaller than less-than and greater-than signs, which in turn are smaller than angle brackets.

Guillemets in fonts Helvetica Neue, Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Cambria, DejaVu Serif and Courier New. Second row: italics
Angle brackets, less-than/greater-than signs and single guillemets in fonts Cambria, DejaVu Serif, Andron Mega Corpus, Andika and Everson Mono


As quotation marks

See also: Quotation mark § Summary table

Guillemets are used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages and regions:

Guillemets are used pointing inwards (»like this«) to indicate speech in these languages:

Guillemets are used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:

Ditto mark

In Quebec, the right-hand guillemet, », called a guillemet itératif, is used as a ditto mark.[9]


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». On the final printout, the guillemet-marked tags are replaced by each instance of the corresponding data item intended for that field by the user.


Double guillemets are present in many 8-bit extended ASCII character sets. They were at 0xAE and 0xAF (174 and 175) in CP437 on the IBM PC, and 0xC7 and 0xC8 in Mac OS Roman, and placed in several of ISO 8859 code pages (namely: -1, -7, -8, -9, -13, -15, -16) at 0xAB and 0xBB (171 and 187).

Microsoft added the single guillemets to CP1252 and similar sets used in Windows at 0x8B and 0x9B (139 and 155) (where the ISO standard placed C1 control codes).

The ISO 8859 locations were inherited by Unicode, which added the single guillemets at new locations:

Despite their names, the characters are mirrored when used in right-to-left contexts.

Keyboard entry

The double guillemets are standard keys on French Canadian QWERTY keyboards and some others.

« »
DOS+Windows[a] Alt+174 Alt+175
Windows[b] Alt+0171 Alt+0187 Alt+0139 Alt+0155
Windows US-International keyboard Alt Gr+[ Alt Gr+]
Macintosh[c] ⌥ Opt+\ ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+\ ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+3 ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+4
Macintosh French keyboard ⌥ Opt+7 ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+7 ⌥ Opt+w ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+w
Macintosh Norwegian keyboard ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+V ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+B ⌥ Opt+V ⌥ Opt+B
Compose key (Unix/Linux/etc) Compose<< Compose>> Compose.< Compose.>
ChromeOS, Linux (US international &
UK extended keyboards)
Alt Gr+Z Alt Gr+X Alt Gr+⇧ Shift+Z Alt Gr+⇧ Shift+X
HTML &laquo; &raquo; &lsaquo; &rsaquo;
  1. ^ OEM code page set to CP437 or CP850
  2. ^ ANSI code page set to CP1252
  3. ^ This applies to all English-language keyboard layouts supplied with the Apple operating system, e.g. "Australian", "British", "Canadian", "Irish", "Irish Extended", "U.S." and "U.S. Extended". Other language layouts may differ.

See also


  1. ^ "guillemet". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Guillemet". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  3. ^ "guillemet". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2020-03-03.
  4. ^ "guillemet". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Character design standards, Latin 1: Punctuation Design Standards. § Pointing quotation marks – Guillemets". Microsoft Typography. Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  6. ^ Trésor de la langue française informatisé – guillemet
  7. ^ Adobe Systems Inc. (1999). PostScript Language Reference: The Red Book (3rd ed.). Addison Wesley. Character set endnote 3, page 783. ISBN 978-0-201-37922-8. OCLC 40927139.
  8. ^ "Pieturzīmes lietišķajos rakstos. Pēdiņas. — teorija. Latviešu valoda, 12. Klase".
  9. ^ "Banque de dépannage linguistique: Guillemets itératifs" [Linguistic help desk: Iterative quotes] (in French). Office québécois de la langue française. Retrieved 30 December 2019.