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S is the nineteenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet.
In most writing systems that use the Latin alphabet, the letter s corresponds to a coronal fricative consonant. Semitic Šīn (bow) was pronounced as the voiceless postalveolar fricative (like the sound of the letters sh in ship). Greek did not have this sound, so the Greek sigma (Σ) came to represent the voiceless alveolar fricative (like the sound of the letter s in sit). The name "sigma" probably comes from the Semitic letter "Sāmek" and not "Šīn". In Etruscan and Latin, the [s] value was maintained, and only in modern languages has the letter been used to represent other sounds, such as voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ] in Hungarian or the voiced alveolar fricative [z] in English, French and German (in English rise; in French lisez (="read" imperative plural); in German lesen (="to read").
An alternative form of s, ſ, called the long s or medial s, was used at the beginning or in the middle of the word; the modern form, the short or terminal s, was used at the end of the word. For example, "sinfulness" is rendered as "ſinfulneſs" using the long s. The use of the long s died out by the beginning of the 19th century, largely to prevent confusion with the minuscule f. The ligature of ſs (or ſz) became the German ess-tsett ( ß ).
Meanings for S
- In biochemistry, S is the symbol for serine.
- In calendars, S is often the abbreviation for Saturday or Sunday, or the month September. U is sometimes used for Sunday to avoid confusing it with Saturday.
- In chemistry,
- In computing,
- In economics, S stands for supply.
- In education, S stands for a satisfactory grade.
- In financial securities, S is the stock symbol for Sears, Roebuck and Co.
- In international licence plate codes, S stands for Sweden.
- In mathematics,
- In the metric system,
- In physics,
- As the first letter of a postal code,
- In economics, S is usually used to represent savings.
- In photography, some SLR cameras (such as Konica Minolta cameras) use S to signify shutter priority mode, where the user sets the shutter speed and the camera determines the aperture. Canon cameras use Tv instead of S.
Similar letters and symbols
- Ŝ, ŝ — S-circumflex
- Ş, ş — S-cedilla
- Š, š — S-caron
- S with comma below (used in Romanian)
- ʂ — S with hook (used in the International Phonetic Alphabet for voiceless retroflex fricative)
- Ṡ, ṡ — S with dot above (used in old Irish Gaelic)
- Ṣ, ṣ — S with dot below (used in Indic transliteration)
- Ṥ, ṥ — S with acute and dot above
- Ṧ, ṧ — S with caron and dot above
- Ṩ, ṩ — S with dots below and above
- Ƨ, ƨ — reversed S (used in Zhuang transliteration)
- ſ — long s
- ʃ — Esh (used in the International Phonetic Alphabet for voiceless postalveolar fricative)
- ∫, ∫ — the integral sign
- $ — the dollar sign
- ß — the German Eszett or "sharp s"
- Ѕ, ѕ — Cyrillic letter Dze
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