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Basic 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

S (/[unsupported input]ˈɛs/; named ess; es- when part of compound word, plural esses)[1] is the nineteenth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet.


Proto-Semitic š Phoenician
Etruscan S Greek
Proto-semiticS-01.svg PhoenicianS-01.svg EtruscanS-01.svg Sigma uc lc.svg

Semitic Šîn ("teeth") represented a voiceless postalveolar fricative /ʃ/ (as in ship). Greek did not have this sound, so the Greek sigma (Σ) came to represent /s/. In Etruscan and Latin, the /s/ value was maintained, and only in modern languages has the letter been used to represent other sounds.

The minuscule form of s was ſ, called the long s, up to the fifteenth century or so, and the form 'S' was used then only as upper case, just like 'G' and 'A' were only upper case. With the introduction of printing, the modern form s began to be used at the end of words by some printers. Later, it was used everywhere and eventually spread to manuscript letters as well. For example, "sinfulness" would be rendered as "ſinfulneſſ" in all medieval hands, later it was "ſinfulneſs" in some blackletter hands and in print. The modern usage "sinfulness" didn't become widespread in print until the beginning of the 19th century, largely to prevent confusion of 'ſ' with the lower case f in typefaces which had a very short horizontal stroke in their lowercase 'f'. The ligature of ſs (or ſz) became the German ess-tsett, ß.


The letter S represents the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ in most languages; it also commonly represents the voiced alveolar fricative /z/, as in the Portuguese mesa or the English does. It is often used at the ends to denote the plural such as in dogs or pages. It may also represent the voiceless postalveolar fricative [ ʃ ], as in Portuguese, Hungarian, and German (before p, t). The letter S is the seventh most common letter in English Language and the third-most common consonant (after t and n).

Alternative representations of S
NATO phonetic Morse code
Sierra ···
ICS Sierra.svg Semaphore Sierra.svg ⠎
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

Computing codes

In Unicode, the capital 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 the code for lowercase s is 162.

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

See also


  1. "S" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "ess," op. cit.

External links

ace:S af:S als:S ar:S an:S arc:S ast:S az:S zh-min-nan:S be:S, літара be-x-old:S (літара) bs:S ca:S cs:S co:S cy:S da:S de:S et:S el:S (γράμμα) es:S eo:S eu:S fa:S fr:S (lettre) fy:S fur:S gv:Shellagh (lettyr) gd:S gl:S gan:S xal:S үзг ko:S hr:S ilo:S id:S is:S it:S he:S ka:S kw:S sw:S ht:S ku:S (tîp) la:S lv:S lt:S hu:S mk:S (Латиница) mzn:S ms:S nah:S nl:S (letter) ja:S no:S nn:S nrm:S uz:S (harf) pl:S pt:S ro:S qu:S ru:S (латиница) se:S stq:S scn:S simple:S sk:S sl:S sr:S (слово латинице) sh:S fi:S sv:S tl:S th:S tr:S (harf) uk:S (латиниця) vi:S vo:S war:S yi:S yo:S zh-yue:S diq:S bat-smg:S zh:S