Mathis told The Age, “The word ‘and’ is only the fifth-most used word in English and it has its own symbol – the ampersand… isn’t it time we accorded the same respect to ‘the’?”

Mathis has somehow already invested about £50,000 into developing the symbol, which combines an uppercase T and lowercase H. It appears similar to the cyrillic letter: Ћ.

In a bid to showcase the potential usefulness of his symbol Mathis has created a range of Android keyboards which employ the symbol and offer shortcuts for the next 14 most common words in the English language.

Mathis faces an uphill struggle to get his new symbol broader recognition. Attempts to introduce a sarcasm mark, known as the SarcMark, garnered some media attention in 2010 but this nevertheless failed to kickstart its broader use.

General Motors once issued a memo to all employees that the word employee should be spelt with employe to save time and ink.

Nitpickers, who have failed to see the genius of Mathis’s symbol, have pointed out that there is already a symbol for ‘the’ used by millions of teeline shorthand students worldwide.