S Letter Silhouette PNG Vector Transparent Images

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Uploaded on on Jun 17, 2021


The letter S, or s, is the nineteenth in both the Modern English and ISO basic Latin alphabets. In English, it is known as ess (pronounced /s/), plural esses.

The voiceless postalveolar fricative / (as in’ship’) was represented by the Northwest Semitic în. It was most likely created as a pictogram of a tooth () that used the acrophonic concept to represent the phoneme /.

Because Ancient Greek lacked a / phoneme, the voiceless alveolar sibilant /s/ was represented by the derived Greek letter sigma (). While the letter form remains Phoenicianîn, the word sigma is derived from the letter samekh, and the samekh’s form and location are retained in the xi, while the name în is retained. Sigma’s name was influenced by its link with the Greek word (earlier *sigj-) “to hiss” in Greek. The letter “sigma” may have been originally known as san, but due to the convoluted early history of the Greek epichoric alphabets, “san” became known as a different letter,. According to Herodotus, the Dorians named the same letter “San” that the Ionians named “Sigma.”

In the 7th century BC, the Etruscans and Latins acquired the Western Greek alphabet used in Cumae, which evolved into a variety of Old Italic alphabets, including the Etruscan alphabet and the early Latin alphabet, during the following centuries. The value /s/ of Greek sigma () was preserved in Etruscan, but san () signified a distinct phoneme, most likely / (transliterated as ). Because Old Latin did not have a / phoneme, the early Latin alphabet incorporated sigma but not san.


The form of the Latin S is derived from Greek by removing one of the letter’s four strokes. The three-stroke S-shape appeared as a variation of the four-stroke letter in Western Greek alphabets, and the three and four-stroke versions coexisted in the classical Etruscan alphabet. The letter might be rendered as a zig-zagging line of any number between three and six strokes in other Italic alphabets (Venetic, Lepontic).

The Italic letter was also incorporated into Elder Futhark as Sowil (), and appears in the earliest runic inscriptions with four to eight strokes, but is infrequently shortened to three strokes () from the late 5th century, and occurs frequently with three strokes in Younger Futhark.

The minuscule form s, often known as the long s, was produced in the early medieval era by Visigothic and Carolingian hands, having ancestors in Late Antiquity’s half-uncial and cursive scripts. It was used in early printing with moveable types and remained common in western writing throughout the medieval period. It coexisted with the tiny “round” or “short” s, which were only employed at the end of words at the period.

Long s was used in German orthography well into the twentieth century, both in Fraktur (Schwabacher) type and conventional cursive (Sütterlin), before being formally removed in 1941. However, the ligature of ss (or sz) was kept, giving birth to the Eszett, ß in modern German spelling.

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