I was digging around the Interwebs when I found this lovely bit of linguistic esoterica. Apparently, the ampersand (&) originated as a ligature, a glyph that combines two or more graphemes. The two graphemes in question are the e and t that form the Latin word et which means and.
But that’s just the beginning. In the 19th century, the ampersand was actually the twenty-seventh letter of the English alphabet. When children sang their ABCs in those days, the tune ended with the phrase “X,Y, Z, and per se &.” The per se — Latin for in itself — was used to keep the conjunction and and the twenty-seventh letter & at the end of the song distinct and to prevent confusion or, at least, lessen the confusion. Eventually the phrase “and per se and” melded together and formed the word ampersand. In etymology, this is known as a compound origin (a process where the lexeme/word comes from the combination of more than one stem).
And that is how words are born, erm, one way anyhow.
This Snapple cap was discovered while digging through dictionary.com