Definitions

capital-letter

majuscule

[muh-juhs-kyool, maj-uh-skyool]

Uppercase, capital, or large letter in calligraphy, in contrast to the minuscule, lowercase, or small letter. All the letters in a majuscule script are contained between a single pair of real or theoretical horizontal lines. The earliest known Roman majuscule letters are in the style known as square capitals, distinguished by downstrokes that are heavier than upstrokes and by serifs (short strokes at right angles to the top and bottom of a letter). Square capitals were used mainly in inscriptions on Roman imperial monuments. Rustic capitals, used in books and official documents, formed a freer, more elliptical script. Roman cursive capitals, a running-hand script used for notes and letters, were a forerunner of the minuscule scripts that appeared later.

Learn more about majuscule with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Phi (uppercase Φ, lowercase φ or ϕ), pronounced [fī] in modern Greek and as [faɪ] in English, is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. In modern Greek, it represents [f], a voiceless labiodental fricative. In Ancient Greek it represented [pʰ], an aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive (from which English ultimately inherits the spelling "ph" in words derived from Greek). In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 500 (φʹ) or 500,000 (͵φ).

The lower-case letter varphi , (or often its variant, phi ,) is used as a symbol for:

The upper-case letter Φ is used as a symbol for:

The diameter symbol in engineering, , is often incorrectly referred to as "phi". This symbol is used to indicate the diameter of a circular section, for example ⌀14 means the diameter of the circle is 14 units.

Computing

In Unicode, there are multiple forms of the phi letter:

  • upper case:
    • U+03A6 GREEK CAPITAL LETTER PHI (Φ): Greek capital letter phi
  • lower case:
    • GREEK SMALL LETTER PHI (φ): letter phi, used in Greek texts.
    • U+03D5 GREEK PHI SYMBOL (ϕ): phi symbol, for mathematical and technical contexts.

In HTML/XHTML, the upper and lower case phi character entity references are Φ (Φ) and φ (φ) respectively.

In LaTeX, the math symbols are Phi (Phi,!), phi (phi ,!), and varphi (varphi,!).

In some browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer 6), the shapes of the U+03C6 GREEK SMALL LETTER PHI (which should be viewed as a curl) and U+03D5 GREEK PHI SYMBOL (which should be viewed as a circle crossed by a slash) are exchanged. Compare these samples to check your browser:

Phi letter: right varphi,!; possible wrong φ
Phi symbol: right phi,!; possible wrong ϕ

See also

References

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