V, or v, is the twenty-second and fifth-to-last letter
in the modern English alphabet
and the ISO basic Latin alphabet
. Its name in English is ''vee''
(pronounced ), plural ''vees''.
The letter V comes from the Semitic
'', as do the modern letters F
, and Y
. See F
, the letter ''upsilon
'' "Υ" was adapted from ''waw'' to represent, at first, the vowel as in "moon". This was later fronted
to , the front rounded vowel spelled "ü
" in German
, a stemless variant shape of the upsilon was borrowed in early times as V—either directly from the Western Greek alphabet
or from the Etruscan alphabet
as an intermediary—to represent the same sound, as well as the consonantal , ''num''—originally spelled ''NVM
''—was pronounced and ''via'' was pronounced . From the 1st century AD on, depending on Vulgar Latin
dialect, consonantal developed into (kept in Spanish
), then later to .
During the Late Middle Ages
, two minuscule
glyphs developed which were both used for sounds including and modern . The pointed form "v" was written at the beginning of a word, while a rounded form "u" was used in the middle or end, regardless of sound. So whereas "valour" and "excuse" appeared as in modern printing, "have" and "upon" were printed as "haue" and "vpon". The first distinction between the letters "u" and "v" is recorded in a Gothic script
from 1386, where "v" preceded "u". By the mid-16th century, the "v" form was used to represent the consonant and "u" the vowel sound, giving us the modern letter "u". Capital and majuscule
"U" was not accepted as a distinct letter until many years later.
In the International Phonetic Alphabet
, represents the voiced labiodental fricative
. See Help:IPA
In English, special rules of orthography normally apply to the letter V:
*Traditionally, V is not doubled to indicate a short vowel
, the way, for example, P is doubled to indicate the difference between "super" and "supper". However, that is changing with newly coined words, such as "divvy up" and "skivvies".
*Barring the word ''of'', a word that ends in a v sound is spelled ''ve'' regardless of the sound of the vowel before it. This rule does not apply to transliterations of Slavic and Hebrew words, such as ''Kiev'', or to words that started out as abbreviations, such as ''sov'' for ''sovereign''.
*The short u sound is spelled ''o'', not ''u'', before the letter v. This originated with a mediaeval scribal practice designed to increase legibility by avoiding too many vertical strokes (minim
s) in a row.
, and Z
, V is not used very frequently in English. It is the sixth least frequently used letter
in the English language, with a frequency of about 1.03% in words. V is the only letter that cannot be used to form an English two-letter word in the Australian version of the game of Scrabble
. C also cannot be used in the American version.
The letter appears frequently in the Romance languages
, where it is the first letter of the second person plural pronoun and (in Italian) the stem of the imperfect
form of most verbs.
Name in other languages
*Classical la|V is the name for both its use as a consonant and as a vowel. Chiefly in its role of a consonant and where the context calls for it, V (or rather its sound) was sometimes called by Roman grammarians ( la|VAV
), this being a name for the digamma
(Ϝ); indeed, Roman grammarian
s commonly equated the sound of the consonantal V to that of the Aeolic digamma
( la|digamma Aeolicum, digammon Aeolicum, digamma Aeolica) and would sometimes directly call the consonantal V a digamma. However, in general, the letter, wherever it occurred, was called .
* ca|ve, pronounced ; in dialects that lack contrast between and , the letter is called ''ve baixa'' "low B/V".
* it|vi or ''vu''
* es|uve is recommended, but ''ve'' is traditional. If V is pronounced in the second way, it would have the same pronunciation as the letter B in Spanish (i.e. after pause or nasal sound, otherwise ); thus further terms are needed to distinguish ''ve'' from ''be''. In some countries it is called ''ve corta'', ''ve baja'', ''ve pequeña'', ''ve chica'' or ''ve labiodental
, V is called a variety of names originating in English, most commonly ブイ or , but less nativized variants, violating to an extent the phonotactics
of Japanese, of ヴィー , ヴイ or , and ヴィ are also used. The phoneme in Japanese is used properly only in loanwords, where the preference for either or depends on many factors; in general, words that are perceived to be in common use tend toward .
Pronunciation and use
In most languages which use the Latin alphabet, has a voiced bilabial
sound. In English, it is a voiced labiodental fricative
. In most dialects of Spanish, it is pronounced the same as , that is, or . In Corsican
, it is pronounced , , or , depending on the position in the word and the sentence. In contemporary German
, it is pronounced in most loan-words while in native German words, it is always pronounced . In standard Dutch
it is traditionally pronounced as but in many regions it is pronounced as in some or all positions.
In Native American languages
of North America (mainly Muskhogean
), represents a nasalized central vowel, /ə̃/.
In Chinese Pinyin
, while is not used, the letter is used by most input methods to enter letter , which most keyboards lack (Romanised
Chinese is a popular method to enter Chinese text). Informal romanizations
of Mandarin Chinese
use V as a substitute for the close front rounded vowel /y/
, properly written ''ü'' in pinyin
, the letter is mostly used in loanwords, such as ''veidhlín'' from English ''violin''. However the sound appears naturally in Irish when /b/ (or /m/) is lenited
or "softened", represented in the orthography
by (or "mh"), so that ''bhí'' is pronounced , ''an bhean'' (the woman) is pronounced , etc. For more information, see Irish phonology
This letter is not used in the Polish alphabet, where is spelled with the letter
instead, following the convention of German
. In German, the letter sounds like /f/.
In the 19th century, was sometimes used to transcribe a palatal click
, , a function since partly taken over by .
Descendants and related letters in the Latin alphabet
*U u : Latin letter U
, originally the same letter as V
*W w : Latin letter W
, descended from V/U
*Ỽ ỽ : Middle Welsh V
*V with diacritic
s: Ṽ ṽ Ṿ ṿ Ʋ ʋ ᶌ
-specific symbols related to V:
*ᶹ : Modifier letter small v with hook is used in phonetic transcription
*Ʌ ʌ ᶺ: Turned v
*ⱴ : V with curl
*Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
-specific symbols related to V:
Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets
, from which the following symbols originally derive
**Υ υ : Greek
, from which V derives
***Y y : Latin letter Y
, which, like V, also derives from Upsilon (but was taken into the alphabet at a later date)
***Ѵ ѵ : Cyrillic letter izhitsa
, also descended from Upsilon
***У у : Cyrillic
, also descended from Upsilon via the digraph of omicron and upsilon
**** Ү ү : Cyrillic
, descended from У and izhitsa and used in the scripts for languages in the former Soviet Union and currently the Russian Federation, as well as in Mongolian
. Most commonly it represents /y/ or /ʏ/.
Ligatures and abbreviations
*∨: Logical disjunction
*℣ : Versicle
*Ꝟ ꝟ : Forms of V were used for medieval scribal abbreviation
V is the symbol for vanadium
. It is number 23 on the periodic table. Emerald
derives its green coloring from either vanadium
v, v., and vs can also be used as an abbreviation for the word versus
when between two or more competing items (Ex: Brown v. Board of Education
, in music theory
*∨, logical disjunction
Category:ISO basic Latin letters