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The meaning of «s»

S, or s, is the nineteenth letter in the Modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is ess[1] (pronounced /ˈɛs/), plural esses.[2]

Northwest Semitic šîn represented a voiceless postalveolar fricative /ʃ/ (as in 'ship'). It originated most likely as a pictogram of a tooth (שנא) and represented the phoneme /ʃ/ via the acrophonic principle.[3]

Ancient Greek did not have a /ʃ/ phoneme, so the derived Greek letter sigma (Σ) came to represent the voiceless alveolar sibilant /s/. While the letter shape Σ continues Phoenician šîn, its name sigma is taken from the letter samekh, while the shape and position of samekh but name of šîn is continued in the xi.[citation needed] Within Greek, the name of sigma was influenced by its association with the Greek word σίζω (earlier *sigj-) "to hiss". The original name of the letter "sigma" may have been san, but due to the complicated early history of the Greek epichoric alphabets, "san" came to be identified as a separate letter, Ϻ.[4] Herodotus reports that "San" was the name given by the Dorians to the same letter called "Sigma" by the Ionians.[5]

The Western Greek alphabet used in Cumae was adopted by the Etruscans and Latins in the 7th century BC, over the following centuries developing into a range of Old Italic alphabets including the Etruscan alphabet and the early Latin alphabet. In Etruscan, the value /s/ of Greek sigma (𐌔) was maintained, while san (𐌑) represented a separate phoneme, most likely /ʃ/ (transliterated as ś). The early Latin alphabet adopted sigma, but not san, as Old Latin did not have a /ʃ/ phoneme.

The shape of Latin S arises from Greek Σ by dropping one out of the four strokes of that letter. The (angular) S-shape composed of three strokes existed as a variant of the four-stroke letter Σ already in the epigraphy in Western Greek alphabets, and the three and four strokes variants existed alongside one another in the classical Etruscan alphabet. In other Italic alphabets (Venetic, Lepontic), the letter could be represented as a zig-zagging line of any number between three and six strokes.

The Italic letter was also adopted into Elder Futhark, as Sowilō (.mw-parser-output .script-runic{font-family:"BabelStone Runic Beagnoth","BabelStone Runic Beorhtnoth","BabelStone Runic Beorhtric","BabelStone Runic Beowulf","BabelStone Runic Berhtwald","BabelStone Runic Byrhtferth",Junicode,Kelvinch,"Free Monospaced",Code2000,Hnias,"Noto Sans Runic","Segoe UI Historic","Segoe UI Symbol","San Francisco","New York"}ᛊ), and appears with four to eight strokes in the earliest runic inscriptions, but is occasionally reduced to three strokes (ᛋ) from the later 5th century, and appears regularly with three strokes in Younger Futhark.

The minuscule form ſ, called the long s, developed in the early medieval period, within the Visigothic and Carolingian hands, with predecessors in the half-uncial and cursive scripts of Late Antiquity. It remained standard in western writing throughout the medieval period and was adopted in early printing with movable types. It existed alongside minuscule "round" or "short" s, which was at the time only used at the end of words.

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Choice of words

sa* sb* sc* sd* se* sf* sg* sh* si* sj* sk* sl* sm* sn* so* sp* sq* sr* ss* st* su* sv* sw* sx* sy* sz*
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