W Letter Silhouette PNG Vector Transparent Images

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Uploaded on on Jun 17, 2021


W, or w, is the twenty-third and final letter of the contemporary English and ISO basic Latin alphabets, respectively. It generally denotes a consonant, although it can also represent a vowel in some languages. Double-u, plural double-ues, is its English name.


A 1693 book printing that includes the “double u” with the contemporary letter; this was allowed if the letter was not in stock or the typeface was created without it.
The “W” letter did not exist in the ancient Latin alphabet, from which contemporary European alphabets were developed. The Latin letter “U” was used to represent the “W” sounds (at the time, not yet distinct from “V”).

In Early Medieval Latin, the Classical Latin sounds /w/ (spelled V) and /b/ (spelled B) evolved into a bilabial fricative / between vowels. As a result, the labial-velar approximant sound /w/ of Germanic phonology was no longer effectively represented by V.

In the coat of arms of Vyborg, there is a letter W.

The earliest writers of Old English and Old High German, in the 7th or 8th century, wrote the Germanic /w/ phoneme as VV or uu (u and v being separate only by the Early Modern era). In the 4th century, Gothic (not Latin-based) simply used a letter based on the Greek Y for the same sound. In Medieval Latin, the digraph VV/uu was frequently employed to denote Germanic names, especially Gothic names like Wamba.

The current moniker “double U” is derived from this uu digraph. The digraph was widely employed in Old High German spelling, but only in the earliest Old English writings, when the /w/ sound was quickly rendered by borrowing the rune, which was adopted as the Latin letter wynn:. Following the Norman Conquest in the 11th century, uu regained favor in early Middle English, and by 1300, it had surpassed wynn in popularity.


The digraph’s scribal representation might resemble a pair of Vs with branches crossing in the centre. Another, which is prevalent in roundhand, kurrent, and blackletter, is a n with the rightmost branch curving around like a cursive v. It was widely used in Britain until the eighteenth century, and it is still widely used in Germany.

The transition from the digraph VV to the separate ligature W is therefore slow, and only visible in abecedaria, which identify all individual letters explicitly. By the 14th century, it was presumably regarded a distinct letter in both Middle English and Middle German spelling, albeit it remained an outsider, not truly regarded part of the Latin alphabet proper, as Valentin Ickelshamer lamented in the 16th century:

The poor w is so notorious and obscure that few people know its name or shape, not even Latinists who have no need for it, nor Germans, not even schoolmasters, who have no idea what to do with it or how to call it; some call it we, some call it uu, and the Swabians call it auwawau.

The West Germanic phoneme /w/ was realized as in Middle High German (and maybe even in late Old High German), which is why the German w now reflects that sound.

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