F, or f, is the sixth letter
in the modern English alphabet
and the ISO basic Latin alphabet
. Its name in English is ''ef''
(pronounced ), plural ''efs''.
The origin of 'F' is the Semitic
'' that represented a sound like or . Graphically it originally probably depicted either a hook or a club. It may have been based on a comparable Egyptian hieroglyph
such as that which represented the word ''mace''
(transliterated as ḥ(dj)): T3
The Phoenician form of the letter was adopted into Greek as a vowel, ''upsilon
'' (which resembled its descendant 'Y
' but was also the ancestor of the Roman letters 'U
', and 'W
'); and, with another form, as a consonant, ''digamma
'', which indicated the pronunciation , as in Phoenician. Latin 'F,' despite being pronounced differently, is ultimately descended from digamma and closely resembles it in form.
After sound changes eliminated from spoken Greek, ''digamma'' was used only as a numeral. However, the Greek alphabet also gave rise to other alphabets, and some of these retained letters descended from digamma. In the Etruscan alphabet
, 'F' probably represented , as in Greek, and the Etruscans formed the digraph
'FH' to represent . (At the time these letters were borrowed, there was no Greek letter that represented /f/: the Greek letter phi
'Φ' then represented an aspirated voiceless bilabial plosive
, although in Modern Greek it has come to represent .) When the Romans adopted the alphabet, they used 'V' (from Greek ''upsilon'') not only for the vowel , but also for the corresponding semivowel , leaving 'F' available for . And so out of the various ''vav'' variants in the Mediterranean world, the letter F entered the Roman alphabet attached to a sound which its antecedents in Greek and Etruscan did not have. The Roman alphabet forms the basis of the alphabet used today for English and many other languages.
'f' is not related to the visually similar long s
, 'ſ' (or medial s
). The use of the ''long s'' largely died out by the beginning of the 19th century, mostly to prevent confusion with 'f' when using a short mid-bar.
Use in writing systems
In the English writing system
is used to represent the sound , the voiceless labiodental fricative
. It is often doubled at the end of words. Exceptionally, it represents the voiced labiodental fricative
in the common word "of". F is the twelfth least frequently used letter
in the English language (after C
, and Z
), with a frequency of about 2.23% in words.
In the writing systems of other languages, commonly represents , or .
*In French orthography
, is used to represent . It may also be silent at the end of words.
*In Spanish orthography
, is used to represent .
*In the Hepburn romanization
, is used to represent . This sound is usually considered to be an allophone
of , which is pronounced in different ways depending upon its context; Japanese is pronounced as before .
*In Welsh orthography
, represents while represents .
*In Slavic language
s, is used primarily in words of foreign (Greek, Latin, or Germanic) origin.
*In spoken Icelandic
, in the middle of a word is often pronounced as a v (e.g. Að sofa - to sleep).
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet
uses to represent the voiceless labiodental fricative
An italic letter is conventionally used to denote an arbitrary function
. See also f with hook
The letter F has become an Internet meme
, where it is used to pay respects. This use is derived from the 2014 video game ''Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
'', where in a quick-time event protagonist Jack Mitchell must pay his respects to his friend Will Irons who fell in combat in a previous mission, represented by the player pressing F when playing the PC version. People on the Internet use the letter F usually in a genuine way to express respects, sadness or condolences towards other Internet personalities, Internet memes or other players on certain events, such as death, misfortune or the end of a phenomenon, company, game, series, etc.
Ancestors, descendants and siblings
*F with diacritic
s: Ƒ ƒ Ḟ ḟ
Ꞙ ꞙ ᵮ ᶂ
*Ꞙ ꞙ : F with stroke is used in the Teuthonista
phonetic transcription system,
and older Ewe writing
*ꬵ : Lenis F is used in the Teuthonista
phonetic transcription system
: Superscript "f", encoded as in the Phonetic Extensions Supplement
block of Unicode
, is used in some forms of the International Phonetic Alphabet
*ꜰ : Small capital F was used in the Icelandic First Grammatical Treatise
to mark gemination
* Ꝼ ꝼ : Insular
F is used in Norse and Old English contexts
*ꟻ : Reversed F was used in ancient Roman texts to stand for ''filia'' (daughter) or ''femina'' (woman)
*Ⅎ ⅎ : Claudian letters
, from which the following symbols originally derive
**Ϝ ϝ : Greek
, from which F derives
*** 𐌅 : Old Italic
V/F (originally used for V, in languages such as Etruscan and Oscan), which derives from Greek Digamma, and is the ancestor of modern Latin F
***Y y : Latin letter Y
, sharing its roots with F
***V v : Latin letter V
, also sharing its roots with F
***U u : Latin letter U
, which is descended from V
***W w : Latin letter W
, also descended from V
Ligatures and abbreviations
*₣ : French franc
, Latin capital letter F with stroke
*℉ : degree Fahrenheit
Category:ISO basic Latin letters