E is the fifth letter in the Latin alphabet. Its name in English is spelled e plural es or ees (also written E's, Es, e's, etc.). The letter E is the most commonly used letter in the Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latin, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish languages.


Egyptian hieroglyph

E is derived from the Greek letter epsilon which is much the same in appearance (Ε, ε) and function. In etymology, the Semitic probably first represented a praying or calling human figure (hillul jubilation), and was probably based on a similar Egyptian hieroglyph that was pronounced and used quite differently. In Semitic, the letter represented /h/ (and /e/ in foreign words), in Greek became Εψιλον (Epsilon) with the value /e/. Etruscans and Romans followed this usage. Arising from the Great Vowel Shift, English usage is rather different, namely /iː/ (derived from /eː/ in "me" or "bee") whereas other words like "bed" are closer to Latin and other languages in usage.


Like other Latin vowels, E came in a long and a short variety. Originally, the only difference was in length but later on, short e represented /ɛ/. In other languages that use the letter E or e, it represents various other phonetic values, sometimes with accents to indicate contrasts (e ê é è ë ē ĕ ě ẽ ė ẹ ę ẻ).

Digraphs starting with E are common in many languages to indicate diphthongs and monophthongs, such as EA or EE for /iː/ or /eɪ/ in English, EI for /aɪ/ in German, or EU for /ø/ in French or /ɔɪ/ in German.

At the end of a word, E is very often silent in English (silent e), where old noun inflections have been dropped, although even when silent at the end of a word it often causes vowels in the word to be pronounced as diphthongs, conventionally called long vowels (compare as a noun rat and as a verb rate).

The letter 'E' is the most common (or highest frequency) letter in the English language (starting off the typographer's phrase ETAOIN SHRDLU) and many other related languages, which has implications in both cryptography and data compression. This makes it a difficult and popular letter to use when writing lipograms. Ernest Vincent Wright's Gadsby (1939), is considered a "dreadful" novel, and that "at least part of Wright's narrative difficulties were caused by language restrictions imposed by the lack of E. Both Georges Perec's novel A Void (La Disparition) (1969) and its English translation by Gilbert Adair omit the letter E and are considered better works.

Codes for computing

In Unicode the capital E is codepoint U+0045 and the lower case e is U+0065.

The ASCII code for capital E is 69 and for lowercase e is 101; or in binary 01000101 and 01100101, correspondingly.

The EBCDIC code for capital E is 197 and for lowercase e is 133.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "E" and "e" for upper and lower case respectively.


See also

Similar Latin letters:

Similar non-Latin letters:

Similar phonetic symbols:

Special symbols similar to the letter E:

af:E als:E ar:E an:E arc:E ast:E az:E bs:E bg:E ca:E cs:E co:E cy:E da:E de:E el:E es:E eo:E eu:E fa:E fur:E gan:E gd:E gl:E ko:E hr:E ilo:E is:E it:E he:E ka:E kw:E sw:E ht:E la:E lv:E lb:E lt:E hu:E mzn:E ms:E nah:E ja:E no:E nn:E nrm:E nds:E pl:E pt:E crh:E ro:E qu:E se:E simple:E sk:E sl:E fi:E sv:E tl:E th:E vi:E vo:E yo:E zh-yue:E bat-smg:E zh:E

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