late 14c., exclamacioun, "a calling or crying aloud; that which is uttered with emphasis or passion, a vehement speech or saying," from Latin exclamationem (nominative exclamatio) "an exclamation" (in rhetoric), "a loud calling or crying out," noun of action from past-participle stem of exclamare "cry out loud" (see exclaim).
The punctuation symbol known as the exclamation point (1824) or exclamation mark (1926) was earliest called an exclamation note or note of exclamation (1650s); Shakespeare has note of admiration (1611). Another name for it was shriek-mark (1864). The mark itself is said to date to c. 1400 among writers in Italy and to represent the Latin io!, an exclamation of delight or triumph, written with the -i- above the -o-.
updated on May 03, 2020