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Y
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Y


Latin alphabet
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Y is the twenty-fifth letter of the Latin alphabet.

See V. In Greek Υψιλον (Ypsilon) was pronounced /u/ (later on /y/, now /i/; see English MYTH and GIFT which both have /I/). The Romans borrowed Y directly from the Greek, because they felt that V no longer adequately represented Greek /y/. The English name of the letter - /waI/ - is of unknown origin. In Spanish, Y is called i griega, in Catalan i grega and in French and Dutch i grec (all mean "Greek i"); in most other European languages the Greek name is still used. The letter Y was originally established as a vowel. It is now established both as a vowel and as a consonant. On Wheel of Fortune, the letter Y counts as a consonant.

The letter y was used by Caxton and other printers in mediaeval England to represent the thorn.

Originally, Y was a vowel letter in Greek, representing [u] (later on, front rounded [y], and in Modern Greek, [i]), and it normally has the sound value [y] in German, in Finnish and other Scandinavian languages. The letter Y nicely shows how letters change their function. In Afrikaans, Y denotes the diphthong [EI], probably as a result of mixing lower case i and y or may derive from the IJ ligature. In Dutch, Y appears only in loanwords and names and is usually pronounced [i]. It is often left out of the Dutch alphabet and replaced with the "Dutch Y". Italian, too, has Y only in very few loanwords.

Yankee represents the letter Y in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Meanings for Y

Two-letter combinations starting with Y: