New answers tagged etymology
If you want to stick with a single non-alphanumeric non-whitespace ASCII character for operators, there really aren't that many. I can only see a couple of alternative choices: !, ~, #, ,, and $. Of those, only . and , can be reached without ⇧ on a US keyboard, # is the comment character. Comma makes kind of sense, but it is already used for a different ...
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