is the nineteenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet
. Its name in English
is spelled ess
or occasionally es
when part of a compound word, plural esses
| Proto-Semitic š
|| Phoenician S
|| Etruscan S
|| Greek Sigma |
("teeth") represented a voiceless postalveolar fricative
/ʃ/ (as in sh
did not have this sound, so the Greek sigma
(Σ) came to represent /s/. The name "sigma" probably comes from the Arabic word "samak" (fish; spine) and not "Šîn". In Etruscan
, the [s] value was maintained, and only in modern languages has the letter been used to represent other sounds, such as voiceless postalveolar fricative
[ʃ] in Hungarian
(before p, t) or the voiced alveolar fricative
[z] in English, French
Care must be taken for incompletely anglicized words from German and proper names from that language. The trigraph "sch" is pronounced like the English digraph "sh." When S is followed either by a p or t, it is pronounced with the same "sh" sound, but when starting a word followed by a vowel, it is pronounced like the English "z," (not the German one).
An alternative form of s, ſ, called the long s or medial s, was used at the beginning or in the middle of the word; the modern form, the short or terminal s, was used at the end of the word. For example, "sinfulness" is rendered as "ſinfulneſs" using the long s. The use of the long s died out by the beginning of the 19th century, largely to prevent confusion with the minuscule f. The ligature of ſs (or ſz) became the German ess-tsett ( ß ).
In a high-school biology textbook used in the 1960s, a text discussing the discovery of cells in animal tissue by the English biologist Robert Hooke was photostatically reproduced, including the long "s." The explanation read, "The type is quaint, but once you notice that an s is often much like an f, you fhould have little trouble reading it."
The long s has often been parodied in Mad Magazine, including the usage "Poor Alfred'f Almanack."
S is one of the most commonly used letters of the Latin Alphabet in the Basic English language.
Codes for computing
S is U+0053 and the lower case
s is U+0073.
The ASCII code for capital S is 83 and for lowercase s is 115; or in binary 01010011 and 01110011, correspondingly.
The EBCDIC code for capital S is 226 and for lowercase s is 162.
The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "S" and "s" for upper and lower case respectively.
Similar letters and symbols
- Ş, ş — S-cedilla
- Š, š — S-caron
- Ș, ș — S with comma below (used in Romanian)
- Ś, ś — S with acute accent (used in Polish)
- Ŝ, ŝ — S with circumflex accent (used in Esperanto)
- ʂ — S with hook (used in the IPA for the voiceless retroflex fricative)
- Ṡ, ṡ — S with dot above (used in old Irish Gaelic)
- Ṣ, ṣ — S with dot below (used in Indic transliteration)
- Ṥ, ṥ — S with acute and dot above
- Ṧ, ṧ — S with caron and dot above
- Ṩ, ṩ — S with dots below and above
- Ƨ, ƨ — reversed S (used in Zhuang transliteration)
- ſ — long s
- ʃ — Esh (used in the IPA for the voiceless postalveolar fricative)
- ∫, ∫ — the integral sign
- $ — the dollar sign
- ß — the German Eszett or "sharp s"
- Ѕ, ѕ — Cyrillic letter Dze
- -dd — Is treated with an "S" sound in Gaelic, especially at the end of words
- § the Section Sign
For other meanings and uses of the letter "S", see S (disambiguation)