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The meaning of «b»

B, or b, is the second letter of the Latin-script alphabet. Its name in English is bee (pronounced /ˈbiː/), plural bees.[1][2] It represents the voiced bilabial stop in many languages, including English. In some other languages, it is used to represent other bilabial consonants.

Old English was originally written in runes, whose equivalent letter was beorc ⟨ᛒ⟩, meaning "birch". Beorc dates to at least the 2nd-century Elder Futhark, which is now thought to have derived from the Old Italic alphabets' ⟨ 𐌁 ⟩ either directly or via Latin ⟨⟩.

The uncial ⟨⟩ and half-uncial ⟨⟩ introduced by the Gregorian and Irish missions gradually developed into the Insular scripts' ⟨⟩. These Old English Latin alphabets supplanted the earlier runes, whose use was fully banned under King Canute in the early 11th century. The Norman Conquest popularised the Carolingian half-uncial forms which latter developed into blackletter ⟨  ⟩. Around 1300, letter case was increasingly distinguished, with upper- and lower-case B taking separate meanings. Following the advent of printing in the 15th century, Holy Roman Empire (Germany) and Scandinavia continued to use forms of blackletter (particularly Fraktur), while England eventually adopted the humanist and antiqua scripts developed in Renaissance Italy from a combination of Roman inscriptions and Carolingian texts. The present forms of the English cursive B were developed by the 17th century.

The Roman ⟨B⟩ derived from the Greek capital beta ⟨Β⟩ via its Etruscan and Cumaean variants. The Greek letter was an adaptation of the Phoenician letter bēt ⟨𐤁⟩.[3] The Egyptian hieroglyph for the consonant /b/ had been an image of a foot and calf ⟨  ⟩,[4] but bēt (Phoenician for "house") was a modified form of a Proto-Sinaitic glyph ⟨  ⟩ probably adapted from the separate hieroglyph Pr ⟨ ⟩ meaning "house".[5][6] The Hebrew letter beth ⟨ב⟩ is a separate development of the Phoenician letter.[3]

By Byzantine times, the Greek letter ⟨Β⟩ came to be pronounced /v/,[3] so that it is known in modern Greek as víta (still written βήτα). The Cyrillic letter ve ⟨В⟩ represents the same sound, so a modified form known as be ⟨Б⟩ was developed to represent the Slavic languages' /b/.[3] (Modern Greek continues to lack a letter for the voiced bilabial plosive and transliterates such sounds from other languages using the digraph/consonant cluster ⟨μπ⟩, mp.)

In English, ⟨b⟩ denotes the voiced bilabial stop /b/, as in bib. In English, it is sometimes silent. This occurs particularly in words ending in ⟨mb⟩, such as lamb and bomb, some of which originally had a /b/ sound, while some had the letter ⟨b⟩ added by analogy (see Phonological history of English consonant clusters). The ⟨b⟩ in debt, doubt, subtle, and related words was added in the 16th century as an etymological spelling, intended to make the words more like their Latin originals (debitum, dubito, subtilis).

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Choice of words

ba* bb* bc* bd* be* bf* bg* bh* bi* bj* bk* bl* bm* bn* bo* bp* bq* br* bs* bt* bu* bv* bw* bx* by* bz*
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