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Encyclopedia > Władysław Sikorski
Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

W w


W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet.


W was invented in the 7th century by Anglo-Saxon writers, it was originally a double V (which also represented U—hence its English name "Double U", because the /w/ sound was spelled "vv"). The sound /w/, the voiced labiovelar semivowel, was previously represented by the Runic letter Wynn (Ƿ).


The Latin /w/ sound developed into Romance /v/; therefore V no longer adequately represented Germanic /w/. In German—like in Romance—the phoneme /w/ was lost, this is why German W represents /v/ rather than /w/. In Dutch, W is an approximant (with the exception of words with EEUW, which have [-e:w]).


In the Swedish and Finnish alphabets, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" and not a separate letter. It is however recognised and maintained in names, like "William".


In the alphabets of modern Romance languages, it is not used either, except in foreign names and words recently borrowed (le week-end, il watt, el kiwi). When a spelling for the /w/ sound in a native word is needed, a spelling from the native alphabet, such as U or OU, can be used instead.


The equivalent representation of the /w/ sound in the Cyrillic alphabet is Ў, a letter unique to the Belarusian language.


"Double U" is the only English letter name with more than one syllable. This gives the nine-syllable initialism www the irony of being an abbreviation that takes more syllables to say than the unabbreviated form, and thus shortening the "double u" into "dup" only. In Texas dialect, however, the name of W is often condensed to two syllables rather than three.


Whiskey represents the letter W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.


The W on a weather vane stands for west.


Meanings for W

Two-letter combinations starting with W:

Letter-digit combinations starting with W:


 
 

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