W

W not in the Roman alphabet, but the Modern English sound it represents is close to the devocalized consonant expressed by Roman -U- or -V-. In Old English, this originally was written -uu-, but by 8c. began to be expressed by the runic character wyn (Kentish wen), which looked like this: Жї (the character is a late addition to the online font set and doesn't display properly on many computers, so it's something like a cross between lower-case -p- and a reversed -y-). In 11c., Norman scribes introduced -w-, a ligatured doubling of Roman -u- which had been used on the continent for the Germanic "w" sound, and wyn disappeared c.1300. -W- is not properly a letter in the modern French alphabet, and it is used there only in borrowed foreign words, e.g. wagon, weekend, Western, whisky, wombat.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.