feature key: n.

[common] The Macintosh key with the cloverleaf graphic on its keytop; sometimes referred to as flower, pretzel, clover, propeller, beanie (an apparent reference to the major feature of a propeller beanie), splat, open-apple or (officially, in Mac documentation) the command key. In French, the term papillon (butterfly) has been reported. The proliferation of terms for this creature may illustrate one subtle peril of iconic interfaces.

Many people have been mystified by the cloverleaf-like symbol that appears on the feature key. Its oldest name is ‘cross of St. Hannes’, but it occurs in pre-Christian Viking art as a decorative motif. Throughout Scandinavia today the road agencies use it to mark sites of historical interest. Apple picked up the symbol from an early Mac developer who happened to be Swedish. Apple documentation gives the translation “interesting feature”!

There is some dispute as to the proper (Swedish) name of this symbol. It technically stands for the word sev�rdhet (thing worth seeing); many of these are old churches. Some Swedes report as an idiom for the sign the word kyrka, cognate to English ‘church’ and pronounced (roughly) /chur�ka/ in modern Swedish. Others say this is nonsense. Other idioms reported for the sign are runa (rune) or runsten /roon�stn/ (runestone), derived from the fact that many of the interesting features are Viking rune-stones. The term fornminne /foorn�min'@/ (relic of antiquity, ancient monument) is also reported, especially among those who think that the Mac itself is a relic of antiquity.