Q is the seventeenth letter of the modern Latin alphabet. Its name in English is spelled cue ().


Egyptian hieroglyph wj Phoenician Q Etruscan Q Greek Qoppa

The Semitic sound value of Qôp (perhaps originally qaw cord of wool, and possibly based on an Egyptian hieroglyph) was /q/ (voiceless uvular plosive), a sound common to Semitic languages, but not found in English or most Indo-European ones. In Greek, this sign as Qoppa Ϙ probably came to represent several labialized velar plosives, among them /kʷ/ and /kʷʰ/. As a result of later sound shifts, these sounds in Greek changed to /p/ and /pʰ/ respectively. Therefore, Qoppa was transformed into two letters: Qoppa, which stood for a number only, and Phi Φ which stood for the aspirated sound /pʰ/ that came to be pronounced /f/ in Modern Greek. The Etruscans used Q only in conjunction with V to represent /kʷ/.


In most modern western languages written in Latin script, such as in Romance and Germanic languages, Q appears almost exclusively in the digraph QU, though see Q without U. In English this digraph most often denotes the cluster /kw/, except in borrowings from French where it represents /k/ as in plaque. In Italian qu represents [kw] (where [w] is an allophone of /u/); in German, /kv/; and in French, Portuguese, Occitan, Spanish, and Catalan, /k/ or /kw/. (In Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan and French, qu replaces c for /k/ before front vowels i and e, since in those contexts c is a fricative and letter 'k' is seldom used outside loan words.) Danish abolished the letter in 1872, although it's still part of the alphabet. A consequence of this was the change in spelling of the word 'kvinde' (woman), which prior to 1872 was spelt 'Quinde'. As a result the term 'kvinde med q' (woman spelt with q) is used for an old-fashioned woman, whilst 'kvinde med k' is used about a modern woman.

In the Aymara, Greenlandic, Uzbek, Quechua, and Tatar languages, as well as romanised Arabic, Q is a voiceless uvular plosive. [q] is also used in the IPA for the voiceless uvular plosive, as well as in most transliteration schemes of Semitic languages for the "emphatic" qōp sound. The sound is rendered with letter ﻕ in Arabic script.

In Maltese and Võro, Q denotes the glottal stop.

In Albanian, q represents the voiceless palatal plosive, /c/. In Chinese Hanyu Pinyin, Q is used to represent the sound [tɕʰ], which is close to English "ch" in "cheese".

In Fijian, Q represents the prenasalized voiced velar plosive [ŋɡ].

In Xhosa and Zulu, Q represents the postalveolar click [kǃ].

In Kiowa, Q represents a glottalized velar plosive, /kʼ/.

Q, which is rarely seen in a word without a U next to it in English, is the second most rarely used letter in the English language. The Q represents a voiceless velar plosive, contrary to the belief that it represents a labialized voiceless velar plosive. If this were the case, there would be no need for the "U" at the end.

The lowercase Q is usually written as a lowercase O with a line below it, with or without a "tail". It is usually typed without due to the major difference between the tails of the lowercase G and lowercase Q. It is usually written with the tail to distinguish from the G. Unlike the written lowercase G, which has a leftward facing tail, the Q's tail faces right. An example of the lowercase Q written from a keyboard is a "q".

Codes for computing

In Unicode the capital Q is codepoint U+0051 and the lower case q is U+0071.

The ASCII hexadecimal codes for capital Q and lowercase q are 51 and 71, respectively. These equal 81 and 113 in decimal, and 01010001 and 01110001 in binary.

The EBCDIC code for capital Q is 216 and for lowercase q is 152.

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


See also

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

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