For example, in Wingdings font: image description

What are the symbols in boxes used for?

I have checked the wiki pages of Wingdings, List of symbols, Ampersand and Unicode/List of useful symbols, but I can't find what I want.

  • Did you know you can reverse search an image in Google images? That might yield some results. My first hunch is that these are just decorative elements without a specific meaning, but I could be wrong. – PieBie Oct 21 '15 at 14:10

They're typographic ornaments. The Wikipedia article on fleurons offers a good explanation of their use.

A fleuron is a typographic element, or glyph, used either as a punctuation mark or as an ornament for typographic compositions. Fleurons are stylized forms of flowers or leaves. Robert Bringhurst in The Elements of Typographic Style calls the forms "horticultural dingbats." It is also known as a printers' flower, or more formally as an aldus leaf hedera leaf, or simply hedera (ivy leaf) symbol.

There are names assigned to all Wingdings symbols, here are the ones you've highlighted (one from each set for the sake of brevity):

  • budleafne budleafne
  • vineleafboldne vineleafboldne
  • Wingdings quiltsquare2 quiltsquare2
  • Wingdings leafccwsw leafccwsw

They are included in the Ornamental Dingbats Unicode block (PDF) and described slightly differently there.

  • How to use it as a punctuation marks? – Ooker Oct 21 '15 at 16:18
  • @Ooker see this question for an example. They can be used to denote section breaks. – JohnB Oct 21 '15 at 16:24
  • 2
    You don’t use them as regular punctuation (you wouldn’t, for instance, use ❦ instead of a comma); but you can use them in much the same way as pilcrow signs or variously sized dots/circles are frequently used, to separate inline lists: “Members present : : Mr. Smith ❁ Mr. Anderson ❁ Mr. Weaving ❁ Mr. Reeves”, for instance. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 21 '15 at 16:29
  • @JanusBahsJacquet looks like the ones for that required to have self-symmetry and kind of pretty like flowers. I'm not sure if the first symbol in your comment can be used in such cases. – Ooker Oct 21 '15 at 16:38
  • 1
    @Ooker I don’t quite understand what you mean, but I don’t think the symmetry of the ones you’ve singled out has any real significance. They’re simply used as ornaments, and sometimes it looks prettier if there are two ornaments pointing in different directions. There’s no special name or usage for the symmetric part of it, that’s just to make them more flexible. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 21 '15 at 16:42

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