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W
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W


Latin alphabet
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W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet.

W was invented in the 7th century by Anglo-Saxon writers, it was originally a double V (which also represented U—hence its English name "Double U", because the /w/ sound was spelled "vv"). The sound 'W' was previously represented by the Runic letter Wynn (Ƿ).

The Latin /w/ sound developed into Romance /v/; therefore V no longer adequately represented Germanic /w/. In German—like in Romance—the phoneme /w/ was lost, this is why German W represents /v/ rather than /w/. In Dutch, W is an approximant (with the exception of words with EEUW, which have [-e:w]).

In the Swedish and Finnish alphabets, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" and not a separate letter. It is however recognised and maintained in names, like "William".

Whiskey represents the letter W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Meanings for W

Two-letter combinations starting with W: