The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The letter E is the fifth letter in the Latin alphabet.



E is derived from the Greek letter epsilon which is much the same in appearance (Ε, ε) and function. The Semitic h probably first represented a praying or calling human figure. In Semitic, the letter was pronounced /h/ (in foreign words also /e/), in Greek h became Εψιλον (Epsilon) with the value /e/. Etruscans and Romans followed this usage. Due to the Great Vowel Shift, English usage is rather different, namely /i:/ in ME or BEE, whereas other words like BED are quite close to Latin or Continental European usage.


Like other Latin vowels, e came in a long and a short variety . In modern English, the long variety is sounded as in see and the short as in pet. However, Latin and most European languages sound the long variety differently, as in English vein. In other languages which use the letter it takes on various other values, sometimes with accents to indicate which one ( ē ĕ ě ẽ ė ẹ ę). Digraphs starting with E are common in many languages to indicate diphthongs or show a different value of E, such as EA or EE for // or // in English, EI for // in English or // in German, or EU for /juː/ in English or /ɔɪ/ in German.

E is very often silent in English, particularly at the ends of words where old noun inflections have been dropped, although even when silent at the end of a word it often causes vowels in the word to be pronounced as long (compare rat and rate).

This is the most common letter in English and many related languages, which has some implications in cryptography. This also makes it a difficult and popular letter to use when writing lipograms.

Alternate representations

Echo represents the letter E in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

In international Morse code the letter E is Dit:

In Braille the letter E is represented as (in Unicode), the dot pattern,



In Unicode the capital E is codepoint U+0045 and the lowercase e is U+0065.

The ASCII code for capital E is 69 and for lowercase e is 101; or in binary 01000101 and 01100101, correspondingly.

The EBCDIC code for capital E is 197 and for lowercase e is 133.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "E" and "e" for upper and lower case respectively.

Meanings for E

See also

Similar non-Latin letters:

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