What do these symbols refer to and what do they mean?

(I can't find any explanation in official documentation)


HEAD is (direct or indirect, i.e. symbolic) reference to the current commit. It is a commit that you have checked in the working directory (unless you made some changes, or equivalent), and it is a commit on top of which "git commit" would make a new one. Usually HEAD is symbolic reference to some other named branch; this branch is currently checked out branch, or current branch. HEAD can also point directly to a commit; this state is called "detached HEAD", and can be understood as being on unnamed, anonymous branch.

And @ alone is a shortcut for HEAD, since Git 1.8.5

ORIG_HEAD is previous state of HEAD, set by commands that have possibly dangerous behavior, to be easy to revert them. It is less useful now that Git has reflog: HEAD@{1} is roughly equivalent to ORIG_HEAD (HEAD@{1} is always last value of HEAD, ORIG_HEAD is last value of HEAD before dangerous operation).

For more information read git(1) manpage / [gitrevisions(7) manpage][git-revisions], Git User's Manual, the Git Community Book and Git Glossary

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