TheInfoList

The tilde (
in the American Heritage dictionary
), or , is a
grapheme In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...

with several uses. The name of the character came into English from
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

, which in turn came from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

''
titulus Titulus, the Latin word for "title", "label" or "inscription" (plural ''tituli'', normally italicized), may or may not be italicized as a foreign word, and may refer to: * ''Titulus'', or Titular church, one of a group of Early Christian churches ...
'', meaning "title" or "superscription".

# Origin

It was originally written over an omitted letter or several letters as a
scribal abbreviation Scribal abbreviations or ''sigla'' ( singular: ''siglum'') are the abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or wor ...
, or "mark of suspension" and "mark of contraction", shown as a straight line when used with capitals. Thus, the commonly used words ''
Anno Domini The terms (AD) and before Christ (BC) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , r ...
'' were frequently abbreviated to ''Ao Dñi'', with an elevated terminal with a suspension mark placed over the "n". Such a mark could denote the omission of one letter or several letters. This saved on the expense of the scribe's labour and the cost of vellum and ink. Medieval European charters written in Latin are largely made up of such abbreviated words with suspension marks and other abbreviations; only uncommon words were given in full. The tilde has since been applied to a number of other uses as a
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
mark or a character in its own right. These are encoded in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

with many precomposed characters as well as individually at and , and there are additional similar characters for different roles. In
lexicography Lexicography is the study of lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary, also known as a wordstock or word-stock, is a set of familiar words within a person's language. A vocabulary, usually developed with age, serves as a useful a ...

, the latter kind of tilde and the
swung dash Swing or swinging may refer to: Apparatus * Swing (seat), a hanging seat that swings back and forth * Russian swing, a swing-like circus apparatus * Sex swing, a type of harness for sexual intercourse * Swing ride, an amusement park ride consistin ...
, , are used in dictionaries to indicate the omission of the entry word.

# History

## Use by medieval scribes

The text of the
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent ...
of 1086, relating for example, to the
manor of Molland The Manor of Molland was a Middle ages, medieval manorialism, manor in North Devon, England. It was largely co-terminous with the existing parish of Molland, in which is situated the village of Molland. More accurately it consisted from the ea ...
in
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for example, the word ''abbrevia ...
as indicated by numerous tildes. The text with abbreviations expanded is as follows:

## Role of mechanical typewriters

The incorporation of the tilde into
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the stu ...
is a direct result of its appearance as a distinct character on
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
mechanical
typewriters File:Typewriter.ogv, Video showing the operation of a typewriter A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array of Button (control), keys, and each one causes a dif ...

in the late nineteenth century. This symbol did not exist independently as a
type Type may refer to: Science and technology Computing * Typing, producing text via a keyboard, typewriter, etc. * Data type, collection of values used for computations. * File type * TYPE (DOS command), a command to display contents of a file. * Type ...
or hot-lead printing character. On typewriters designed for languages that routinely use
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s (accent marks), a
dead key A dead key is a special kind of a modifier key In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of ...
mechanism was provided: a mark is made when a dead key is typed but, unlike normal keys, the paper carriage does not move on. To achieve an accented letter, the typist first typed the desired diacritic, then typed the letter to be accented. Since the diacritic key a 'dead key' had not moved the paper on, the letter was printed under the previously-printed accent. To add a diacritic to a capital letter on some typewriters, the upper-case levatedversion of the accent could be produced using plus the diacritic key. On others, however, the
typebar A typewriter is a mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecula ...
had two different diacritics so that users could only add accents to lower-case letters without manual intervention or other adjustment. For most Western European languages, the only diacritics used are
acute Acute may refer to: Science and technology * Acute angle ** Acute triangle ** Acute, a leaf shape in the glossary of leaf morphology#acute, glossary of leaf morphology * Acute (medicine), a disease that it is of short duration and of recent onset. ...

(),
grave A grave is a location where a dead body A cadaver or corpse is a dead human body that is used by medical students A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and award ...

(,
circumflex The circumflex is a diacritic in the Latin script, Latin and Greek alphabet, Greek scripts that is used in the written forms of many languages and in various romanization and Transcription (linguistics), transcription schemes. It received its E ...
() and diaeresis (or umlaut, ): early typewriters for the European market included these as dead keys. Spanish and Portuguese uniquely use the tilde diacritic. In modern Spanish, the tilde accent is needed only for the characters and . Both were precomposed as distinct graphemes and assigned to a single typebar, which sacrificed a key that was felt to be less important, usually the key. Portuguese, however, has two: and . Whereas it was just about possible to find one low-use key to sacrifice for Spanish, to find two sacrificial keys for Portuguese was impractical. Instead a single key was changed to a tilde dead key and was born as a distinct
grapheme In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...

.

### The centralized ASCII tilde

ASCII incorporated many of the overprinting lower-case diacritics from typewriters, including tilde. Overprinting was intended to work by putting a
backspace Backspace () is the keyboard key that originally pushed the typewriter A typewriter is a mechanical Mechanical may refer to: Machine * Mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properti ...

code between the codes for letter and diacritic. However even at that time, mechanisms that could do this or any other overprinting were not widely available, did not work for capital letters, and were impossible on video displays, with the result that this concept failed to gain significant acceptance. Consequently, many of these diacritics (and the
underscore Underscored or underlined text. An underscore, also called an underline, low line or low dash, is a line drawn under a segment of text. In proofreading Proofreading is the reading (activity), reading of a galley proof or an electronic copy of ...

) were quickly reused by software as additional syntax, basically becoming new types of syntactic symbols that a programming language could use. As this usage became predominant,
type design Type design is the art and process of designing typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of e ...
gradually evolved so these diacritic characters became larger and more vertically centered, making them useless as overprinted diacritics but much easier to read as free-standing characters that had come to be used for entirely different and novel purposes.

# Connection to Spanish

As indicated by the etymological origin of the word "tilde" in English, this symbol has been closely associated with the
Spanish language Spanish ( or , ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of inform ...

. The connection stems from the use of the tilde above the letter to form the (different) letter in Spanish, a feature shared by only a few other languages, most of which are historically connected to Spanish. This peculiarity can help non-native speakers quickly identify a text as being written in Spanish with little chance of error. In addition, most native speakers, although
not all Not or NOT may refer to: Language * Not, the general declarative form of yes and no, "no", indicating a negation of a related statement that it usually precedes * ... Not!, a grammatical construct used as a contradiction, popularized in the early 1 ...
, use the word to refer to their language. Particularly during the 1990s, Spanish-speaking intellectuals and news outlets demonstrated support for the language and the culture by defending this letter against
globalisation Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...
and
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...

isation trends that threatened to remove it from keyboards and other standardised products and codes. The
Instituto Cervantes Instituto Cervantes (the Cervantes Institute) is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991. It is named after Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616), the author of ''Don Quixote'' and perhaps the most important figur ...

, founded by Spain's government to promote the Spanish language internationally, chose as its logo a highly stylised with a large tilde. The 24-hour news channel
CNN The Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The ...

in the US later adopted a similar strategy on its existing logo for the launch of its . And similarly to the
National Basketball Association The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball sports league, league in North America. The league is composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada) and is one of the four major professional sports leagu ...
(NBA), the
Spain men's national basketball team The Spain men's national basketball team ( es, link=no, Selección Española de Baloncesto) represents Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de Es ...
is nicknamed "ÑBA". In Spanish itself the word is used more generally for diacritics, including the stress-marking acute accent. The diacritic is more commonly called or , and is not considered an accent mark in Spanish, but rather simply a part of the letter (much like
the dot ''The Dot'' is a 2003 picture book written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds about a girl named Vashti who discovers her artistic talent. It is published by Candlewick Press. Plot Vashti is a girl who says she cannot draw. Her teacher says a ...
over makes an character that is familiar to readers of English).

# Usage

## Common use

This symbol (in US English) informally means "approximately", "about", or "around", such as "~30 minutes before", meaning "''approximately'' 30 minutes before". It can mean "similar to", including "of the same
order of magnitude An order of magnitude is an approximation of the logarithm In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contain ...
as", such as "" meaning that and are of the same order of magnitude. Another approximation symbol is the double tilde , meaning "approximately equal to". The tilde is also used to indicate
congruence Congruence may refer to: Mathematics * Congruence (geometry), being the same size and shape * Congruence or congruence relation, in abstract algebra, an equivalence relation on an algebraic structure that is compatible with the structure * In modu ...
of shapes by placing it over an symbol, thus . In Japanese it is used in to indicate a range or interval: 5〜10 means between 5 and 10. In the computing field, especially in
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser Multi-user software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast t ...

-based systems, the tilde indicates the user's home directory. In more recent digital usage, tildes on either side of a word or phrase have sometimes come to convey a particular tone that "let the enclosed words perform both sincerity and irony", which can pre-emptively defuse a negative reaction. For example,
BuzzFeed BuzzFeed, Inc. is an American Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''inte ...
journalist Joseph Bernstein interprets the tildes in the following tweet: :"in the ~ spirit of the season ~ will now link to some of the (imho) #Bestof2014 sports reads. if you hate nice things, mute that hashtag." as a way of making it clear that both the author and reader are aware that the enclosed phrase – "spirit of the season" – "is cliche and we know this quality is beneath our author, and we don't want you to think our author is a cliche person generally".

## Diacritical use

In some languages, the tilde is a
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
mark placed over a
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
to indicate a change in its pronunciation:

### Pitch

The tilde was firstly used in the
polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, Mycenaean, was written in Linear ...
of
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, as a variant of the
circumflex The circumflex is a diacritic in the Latin script, Latin and Greek alphabet, Greek scripts that is used in the written forms of many languages and in various romanization and Transcription (linguistics), transcription schemes. It received its E ...
, representing a rise in
pitch Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music), the perceived frequency of sound including "definite pitch" and "indefinite pitch" ** Absolute pitch or "perfect pitch" ** Pitch class, a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves ...

### Abbreviation

Later, it was used to make
abbreviations An abbreviation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
in medieval
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
documents. When an or followed a vowel, it was often omitted, and a tilde (physically, a small ) was placed over the preceding vowel to indicate the missing letter; this is the origin of the use of tilde to indicate nasalization (compare as an abbreviation of .) The practice of using the tilde over a vowel to indicate omission of an or continued in printed books in as a means of reducing text length until the 17th century. It was also used in
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

, and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

. The tilde was also used occasionally to make other abbreviations, such as over the letter , making , to signify the word ''que'' ("that").

### Nasalization

It is also as a small that the tilde originated when written above other letters, marking a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
elided In linguistics, an elision or deletion is broadly defined as the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. However, it is also used to refer more narrowly to cases where two words are r ...
in old Galician-Portuguese. In modern
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

it indicates
nasalization In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of eve ...
of the base vowel: "hand", from Lat. ''manu-''; "reasons", from Lat. . This usage has been adopted in the orthographies of several native languages of South America, such as Guarani and Nheengatu, as well as in the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest s ...
(IPA) and many other phonetic alphabets. For example, is the IPA transcription of the pronunciation of the French place-name ''
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

''. In
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
, the symbol after a vowel means that the letter serves only to give the vowel a nasalised pronunciation, without being itself pronounced, as it normally is. For example, gives the pronunciation whereas gives . In the DMG romanization of
Tunisian Arabic Tunisian Arabic, or simply Tunisian, is a set of dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, l ...
, the tilde is used for nasal vowels õ and ṏ.

### Palatal n

The tilded (, ) developed from the digraph in Spanish. In this language, is considered a separate letter called '''' (), rather than a letter-diacritic combination; it is placed in Spanish dictionaries between the letters and . In Spanish, the word ''tilde'' actually refers to diacritics in general, e.g. the acute accent in ''José'', while the diacritic in is called "virgulilla" (). Current languages in which the tilded () is used for the
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

consonant include * Asturian *
Aymara Aymara may refer to: Languages and people * Aymaran languages Aymaran (also Jaqi or Aru) is one of the two dominant language families in the central Andes alongside Quechua languages, Quechuan. The family consists of Aymara language, Aymara, wi ...
*
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
*
ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro Party, a 19th-century Portuguese political party (See L ...
*
Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, ...
*
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
* Guaraní * Iñupiaq *
Mapudungun Mapuche () or Mapudungun (from ' 'land' and ' 'speak, speech') is an Araucanian language related to Huilliche The Huilliche , Huiliche or Huilliche-Mapuche are the southern partiality of the Mapuche macroethnic group of Chile Chile ...

*
Papiamento Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontar ...
*
Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a common ancestral language **Sou ...
*
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

*
Tetum Tetum ( pt, Tetum ,; tet, Tetun ) is an Austronesian language The Austronesian languages (, , , ) are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communicati ...
* Wolof

### Tone

In
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...

, a tilde over a vowel represents a creaky rising
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness Lightness is a visual perception of the luminance (L) of an object. It is often judged relative to a similarly lit object. ...
(''ngã''). Letters with the tilde are not considered separate letters of the
Vietnamese alphabet The Vietnamese alphabet ( vi, chữ Quốc ngữ, "script of the national language") is the modern Latin writing script or writing system for Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast ...
.

### International Phonetic Alphabet

In
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

, a tilde is used as a diacritic that is placed above a letter, below it or
superimpose Superimposition is the placement of one thing over another, typically so that both are still evident. Graphics In graphics Graphics (from Greek ''graphikos'', "belonging to drawing") are visual images or designs on some surface, such as a ...
d onto the middle of it: * A tilde above a letter indicates
nasalization In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of eve ...
, e.g. . * A tilde superimposed onto the middle of a letter indicates
velarization Velarization is a secondary articulation In phonetics, secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant ...
or
pharyngealization Pharyngealization is a secondary articulation In phonetics, secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant ...

, e.g. . If no precomposed
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

character exists, the Unicode character can be used to generate one. * A tilde below a letter indicates laryngealisation, e.g. . If no precomposed Unicode character exists, the Unicode character can be used to generate one.

### Letter extension

In
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
, the symbol stands for the
close-mid back unrounded vowel The close-mid back unrounded vowel, or high-mid back unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech s ...
, and it is considered an independent letter.

### Other uses

Some languages and alphabets use the tilde for other purposes: * : A symbol resembling the tilde () is used over the letter () to become , denoting a long sound. * Guaraní: The tilded (note that with tilde is not available as a precomposed glyph in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

) stands for the
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans ...

consonant. Also, the tilded () stands for the nasalized upper central rounded vowel .
Munduruku The Munduruku, also known as Mundurucu or Wuy Jugu or BMJ, are an indigenous people of Brazil living in the Amazon River The Amazon River (, ; es, Río Amazonas, pt, Rio Amazonas) in South America South America is a continent ent ...
, Parintintín, and two older spellings of Filipino words also use . *
Syriac script The Syriac alphabet ( ) is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language since the 1st century AD. It is one of the Semitic languages, Semitic abjads descending from the Aramaic alphabet through the Palmyrene alphabet, and shares ...
: A tilde (~) under the letter ''
Kaph Kaph (also spelled kaf) is the eleventh letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is unde ...

'' represents a sound, transliterated as ''ch'' or ''č''. *
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
and Võro use the tilde above the letter o (õ) to indicate the vowel , a rare sound among languages. *
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

has a combining vertical tilde character: . It is used to indicate middle tone in linguistic transcription of certain dialects of the Lithuanian language.

### Precomposed Unicode characters

The following letters using the tilde as a diacritic exist as precomposed or Combining character, combining Unicode characters:

## Punctuation

The tilde is used in various ways in punctuation:

### Range

In some languages (though not generally in English), a tilde-like wavy dash may be used as punctuation (instead of an unspaced hyphen, en dash or em dash) between two numbers, to indicate a Interval (mathematics), range rather than subtraction or a hyphenated number (such as a part number or model number). For example, "12~15" means "12 to 15", "~3" means "up to three", and "100~" means "100 and greater". Languages of East Asia, East Asian languages almost always use this convention, but it is often done for clarity in some other languages as well. Chinese language, Chinese uses the wavy dash and full-width em dash interchangeably for this purpose. In English, the tilde is often used to express ranges and model numbers in electronics, but rarely in formal grammar or in type-set documents, as a wavy dash preceding a number sometimes represents an approximation (see below).

### Other uses

Computer programmers use the tilde in various ways and sometimes call the symbol (as opposed to the diacritic) a squiggle, squiggly, swiggle, or twiddle. According to the Jargon File, other synonyms sometimes used in programming include not, approx, wiggle, enyay (after ''ñ, eñe'') and (humorously) sqiggle . It is used in many languages as a binary inversion operator, swapping a number's binary 1's and 0's for example ~10 (binary ~1010) is equal to 5 (binary 0101). In Raku (programming language), Raku, is used instead of for a regular expression.

## Juggling notation

In the juggling notation system Beatmap, tilde can be added to either "hand" in a pair of fields to say "cross the arms with this hand on top". Mills Mess is thus represented as (~2x,1)(1,2x)(2x,~1)*.

# Similar characters

Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

has code-points for many forms of tilde, for symbols incorporating tildes, and for characters visually similar to a tilde:

# ASCII tilde (U+007E)

Most modern proportional fonts align the plain ASCII spacing character, spacing tilde at the same level as dashes, or only slightly upper. This distinguishes it from the ''small tilde'' ( ˜ ) introduced with Windows-1252, which is always raised. But in some monospace fonts, especially used in text user interfaces,
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the stu ...
tilde character is raised too. This apparently is a legacy of typewriters, where pairs of similar spacing and combining characters relied on one glyph. Even in line printers' age character repertoires were often not large enough to distinguish between plain tilde, small tilde and combining tilde. Overprinting of a letter by the tilde was a working method of combining character, combining a letter.

# Keyboards

Where a tilde is on the keyboard depends on the computer's language settings according to the following chart. On many keyboards it is primarily available through a
dead key A dead key is a special kind of a modifier key In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of ...
that makes it possible to produce a variety of precomposed characters with the diacritic. In that case, a single tilde can typically be inserted with the dead key followed by the space bar, or alternatively by striking the dead key twice in a row. To insert a tilde with the dead key, it is often necessary to simultaneously hold down the Alt Gr key. With a Macintosh either of the Alt/Option key, Option keys function similarly. In the US and European Windows systems, the Alt code for a single tilde is 126.