It is commonly transliterated as ï or æ, or, in reconstructions of Proto-Germanic, ē2. Its phonetic value at the time of the invention of the Futhark (2nd century) was not necessarily a diphthong, but possibly a vowel somewhere between IPA [i] and [e], or [æ], continuing Proto-Indo-European language *.
Two variants of the word are reconstructed for Proto-Germanic, *īhaz (*ē2haz, PIE *), continued in Old English as ēoh (also īh) , and *īwaz (*ē2waz, Proto-Indo-European *), continued in Old English as īw (whence yew). The latter is possibly an early loan from the Celtic, compare Gaulish ivos, Old Irish ēo. The common spelling of the rune's name, "Eihwaz", combines the two variants; strictly based on the Old English evidence, a spelling "Eihaz" would be more proper.
The Anglo-Saxon rune poem:
The rune is sometimes associated with the World tree Yggdrasil, which, imagined as an ash in Norse mythology, may formerly have been a yew or an oak. The Proto-Germanic for "oak" was *aiks (PIE *aigs, likely cognate to Greek krat-aigon) is continued the name of another futhorc rune, ac, which has, however, no Elder Futhark predecessor.
The rune is not to be confused with the Sowilo rune, which has a somewhat similar shape, or with Ehwaz, the rune expressing short e or ē1. In the Younger Futhark, there is the terminal -R rune Yr "yew", but neither its shape nor its sound is related to the Eihwaz rune: it is, rather, a continuation of Algiz.