An asterisk (Late , from asterískos, “little star”) is a typographical symbol or glyph. It is so called because it resembles a conventional image of a star. The asterisk comes from the need of the printers of family trees in feudal times for a symbol to indicate date of birth. The shape has multiple arms with each like a teardrop shooting from the center. In English, an asterisk is usually five- or six-pointed in typeface, and six- or eight-pointed when handwritten. It can be used to censor swear words and vulgar or objectionable text. The symbol is also used on the Internet to correct one’s spelling, in which case it appears before or after the correct word. Computer scientists and mathematicians often call it a star (as, for example, in the A* search algorithm or C*-algebra), or, more informally, splat. The asterisk is commonly used as a wildcard character, or to denote pointers, repetition, or multiplication in computer science.