Guillemets (, also , , French: [ɡijmɛ]) 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, or French quotes / quotation marks.
Guillemet is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (equivalent to English William), apparently after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–1598), though he did not invent the symbols: they first appear in a 1527 book printed by Josse Bade. Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously: the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix.
In Adobe Systems font 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 acknowledges the error. Likewise, X11 mistakenly uses XK_guillemotleft and XK_guillemotright to name keys producing the characters.
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:
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 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).
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.