Dictionary.com

Were P and R Once the Same Letter?

pandr

Do you ever stop and look at the shape of our alphabet? Each letter looks natural to us now, but all those lines and circles have unique histories. It’s easy to make assumptions that our letters make sense, that they developed in some orderly logical way, and one reasonable assumption would be that P and R are related to each other based on their form. P and R may look like they are related, but they actually come from two distinct letters. (The study of the shapes of letters is called orthography.)

The letter R came from the Phoenician letter rosh (see image at left). The word rosh meant head and the letter resembles a neck and head. It also looks like a backwards P. When the letter entered the Greek alphabet, the Greeks turned the letter around and added the short leg to the side. They called this letter rho.

(Want to know why the uppercase R and lowercase r look so different? Learn their story here.)

The letter P has a more meandering history. The Phoenicians used a shape like an upside down J to represent the sound pe. (This sound is still represented by a similar letter in Hebrew.) However, the Greeks changed the shape dramatically to the letter pi (yes, just like the mathematical symbol). There is a historical break after the Greek letter. The Romans ignored the Greek pi and instead used the Etruscan letter for P, which was closer to the Phoenician pe. The Romans turned it around and gave us our contemporary letter.

This may be a surprise, but the letter P is actually common in English. Almost 10% of English words begin with the letter P!

(Whatever happened to the Old English letters, thorn and wynn, that kind of looked like a P? Find out here.)

What other letters are you curious about?

139 Comments

  1. [...] 2. The menu is 17 pages long, with an inserted “Specials” page. If the menu is not laminated, you are not in a diner. If there is no Sirloin steak special, you are not in a diner. If anyone orders off a page that is not titled “Breakfast,” “From the Grill,” “Greek Specialties,” or the aforementioned “Today’s Specials,” you are not in a diner (or you are with someone who has no business in a diner). Bonus points for authenticity if the Specials page is hand written and there is an instance of using a “p” where an “r” should be. [...]

    Reply
  2. paul -  January 31, 2014 - 7:22 am

    This article is incorrect. the Greeks did not add any leg to the letter rho; the latins did. The rho is our English p, both uppercase and lowercase ( P, p). Rho came from the Hebrew letter resh which looks similar to the lower case r just backwards. The ancient Hebrew rash is depicted here in the picture seeming like a backwards P.

    Reply
  3. 777 -  December 9, 2013 - 8:05 pm

    um this forum doesnt even have a 2013 post and its the end of 2013 and it says its a newer form……like i said,THEY RE USE THE FORUMS!!!!!!!
    #777islikesocoollikeyeahumnoidontthinksogirlfriendwannafightletsfightowmymascara
    #susiesusanalldayrofl
    #hashtag
    #777is11

    Reply
  4. bdausdacgh -  September 25, 2012 - 1:51 am

    fake

    Reply
  5. Olivia -  August 12, 2012 - 5:32 pm

    wow! hot word never fails to: 1. interest me 2. have a bunch of problems that ppl rave about (@ tal ur comment is sooooooooooooawesome! :D )

    so like thats cooooooooool and i like pi!! 3.141592653575979323 off top of my head…….

    the letter Q. it looks weird. oh,n and a! see how it looks like a?? well when i print i write it differently, kinda like adn o with a line on the side. and then there the capitol A. whats with the 3 waaaay different ways to write the letter A?!

    Reply
  6. yayRayShell -  August 6, 2012 - 11:25 am

    Why do we have some lower case letters that look the same such as C and c, but have others that look distinctly different like A and a?

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  7. sarah -  July 26, 2012 - 1:33 pm

    TAL, can you stop talking

    Reply
  8. Bill -  July 26, 2012 - 10:47 am

    Oddly, none of the definitions on Dictionary.com state “Orthography” is the study of letters. It’s bad to not fact-check your own (dictionary!) website before posting this article.

    I don’t know what the actual word is to describe the study of letterforms, but “Palaeography” seems (a bit more) accurate.

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  9. name -  July 26, 2012 - 12:55 am

    ooooookkkkkk

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  10. Alex -  July 25, 2012 - 9:19 pm

    here is a Greek word starting with Rho: ρεμα. Looks just like a P.

    As for the origin of letters– Q and C! Why on earth do such useless letters exist? Why not just use a K with a U for Q and a K or S for C?

    Reply
  11. jameswatt -  July 25, 2012 - 12:28 pm

    Possibilities are differences counted. To take count of possibilities, look for differences, from a supposed standard. Given P and R one suspects which of them came first, or, which was derived from which. This is an erroneous suspicion. Possibly both were not born together. Theory is the simplest one might have been made first (Here P). This could have been used as base to work up a ‘difference’ figure, using the addition, deletion methods. So they got R by addition of a stroke to P. consider D, is this not simpler than P? What about B? Is it not derived from P? Similarities between letters can only be partial and that is on account of base material being used. Any one of the straight lines or any one of the curved lines can function as a base line; also, any one straight and any one curved line combined can be a base structure. Even more complex structures can act as base.

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  12. Mav -  July 23, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    I’d like to know why M and W look so much alike, and why N and Z look like.

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  13. Rozzay -  July 23, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    Why is the. Letter W not called double V?

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  14. clark -  July 23, 2012 - 12:25 pm

    How about p & r why not so related what happens to the additional foot.

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  15. Ms. Jost -  July 23, 2012 - 6:48 am

    Could you simply start with the A and present the whole alphabet.

    You have certainly sparked an interest and I am sure that no one will be upset about the history on the letters.

    Each letter, I am sure, has a history that will probably never again be discussed. Yet, this is just a chip off the iceberg as to how the world has evolved.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Reply
  16. Luis A. Veguilla-Berdecia -  July 23, 2012 - 6:03 am

    The value of pi given is wrong. Here’s a correct value from Wikipedia

    3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279…..

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  17. Kimberly -  July 22, 2012 - 5:12 pm

    Do O and Q come from the same letter?

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  18. Fernando Pin -  July 22, 2012 - 12:17 pm

    - Congratulations! I am from Brasil, here we speak Portuguese, and I am very admired with these comments of you.Congratulations again.

    Reply
  19. Distinction -  July 22, 2012 - 9:22 am

    Tal said ENGLISH words.

    Pi came from the Greek word, periphery.

    Phoenician was derived from the Greek, Roman, and other Western alphabets.

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  20. mary torres -  July 22, 2012 - 7:29 am

    heeyyy

    Reply
  21. mary torres -  July 22, 2012 - 7:28 am

    puerto rico lol

    Reply
  22. jake -  July 22, 2012 - 5:49 am

    also F and E

    Reply
  23. jake -  July 22, 2012 - 5:45 am

    I and J

    Reply
  24. Joe -  July 22, 2012 - 4:02 am

    Enough already. How about a new article? This one has been beaten to death. To the point of who cares!

    Reply
  25. Kim -  July 22, 2012 - 3:21 am

    what about I and J? why do their lowercases have a some sort of period above them? :D

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  26. Goldenia Boy -  July 22, 2012 - 12:43 am

    Pi = 31.1 and so on. (Dont make the 31 32.)
    Ex.31.109108109272097308326980623809632869
    There are trillions of numbers and counting! Maybe since when the Greeks made it.

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  27. Paul -  July 21, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    Pi is also an english word for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

    Used in a sentence.

    So, let me determine the value of pi without using circles.

    Reply
  28. rolndoln -  July 21, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    I enjoyed reading the comments as much or more than the orginal post. I must have opened 26 other links and pages of interest just between the original post and the comments. I now have reading to do for years and knowledge to absorb…thank you all, except…(you fill in the blanks). I AM NOT A TROLL. Probably could not find my way back here with a flashlight to read your comments anyway. rolndoln

    must follow up
    roman empire julius ceasar salad v w and so many more.

    Reply
  29. bob -  July 21, 2012 - 5:32 am

    That is sooo cool! Ive always thought that the looked identicalbut they are completely opposites but opposites atract

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  30. angela -  July 21, 2012 - 1:21 am

    A was inverted when it began in the Phoenician alphabet and represented an ox head. A principal animal a principal glyph

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  31. hannah -  July 20, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    Tal:Does anyone else find it ironic that not a single English word in that article begins with the letter P?”

    Tal’s right..Phoenician starts with the letter P but it’s not English..The word is saying it itself.Phoenician is Phoenician.

    Reply
  32. Adamu -  July 20, 2012 - 9:46 pm

    Education is the change of behavior in term of expriance

    Reply
  33. tomfredjames -  July 20, 2012 - 4:22 pm

    if one were to place all of the letters of the english alphabet except for C on clockface with the letter A at twelve o’clock and then B at one…now use the C to see…. now D at two.. E at three…F at four…. G at five…..H/6….I/7….
    J/8….K/9….L/10….M/11….N/12….O/1….P/2….Q/3….R/4….S/5….T/6….
    U/7….V/8….W/9….X/10….Y/11….Z/12….now imagine that this clockface is the earth’s face and that the sun shadow is passing over the E…. and as the sun moves the E becomes an EF……east, west, north, and south are represented…………….

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  34. Sarah -  July 18, 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Why do they call W “double-u” when it looks more like a V. Do W and U come from the same letter too?

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  35. rachel -  July 18, 2012 - 1:27 pm

    it;s so coool its just like i know how 2 tell time

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  36. marlin -  July 18, 2012 - 8:39 am

    Is that all you wordologists have to do is count initial letters on words in a paragraph? “Let’s see…there were twenty beginning with ‘e,’ ten with ‘k,’ seven with ‘r,’ and–” sheesh, I mean who cares? Sure, that’s kind of ironic (one could also use “unusual” also, but let’s not obsess.

    I mean, I like studying words and letters (I’m a calligrapher), but enough is enougn!

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  37. Zac -  July 18, 2012 - 7:25 am

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that P and B are are actually more similar in both look AND sound than P and R. I would say that the elementary, low and full sound of B accounts for it’s full shape and recognition as the second letter. And that P is a clarification, signifying a sharper, higher, more refined pronunciation of what is essentially B.

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  38. Oscar -  July 18, 2012 - 6:41 am

    B and D

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  39. collin -  July 18, 2012 - 4:01 am

    Hi sir

    good intrest

    Reply
  40. Professor Know-it-all -  July 18, 2012 - 1:36 am

    Though the number pi in maths NEVER ends it is approximately 3.142857142857143 or even simpler, 3.14.
    PI looks the same for greek alphabet AND maths

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  41. j -  July 18, 2012 - 12:34 am

    There are 78 comments and so, too many are directed back at Tal. Tal, who I hope is not reading any of these comments, I appreciate your comment of pure interest. Phoeniciant begins with the letter “P” , however is pronounced “F” so we will cut you some slack, especially since it refers to a foriegn and extinct language. Quote from dictionary.com: “2. the extinct language of this people, belonging to the Canaanitic branch of the Semitic subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family” I speak for all good people. Resonding to me will be in vain, I will not be reading your comments.

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  42. darna -  July 17, 2012 - 10:58 pm

    it’s norm

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  43. ken -  July 17, 2012 - 10:38 pm

    it seems that everybody in this generation comes in a different history and renaissance…you guys are just very keen observant LIKE!!! :-D

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  44. asil -  July 17, 2012 - 10:35 am

    Wow…. that is SO interesting!! :) Where did the other letters originate?

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  45. Jon -  July 17, 2012 - 9:46 am

    How about the letters “I” and “H” the three letters “Q” ,”O”,”C” the letters “M” and “W” the letters “K” and “R” and letters “T” and “L”

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  46. yodar -  July 17, 2012 - 9:23 am

    Bonnie, I don’t think it’s that illiterate folks are supposed to make an “X” mark specifically. I think it’s more that they are just supposed to put some kind of mark on the page at the signature line in front of a witness. “X” probably happens the most because it’s a very common generic marker irrespective to the actual letter X, more like a check mark. But illiterate or not, who’s to say what your signature is supposed to look like? So I don’t know, but I bet the “X” is more of a custom than a rule or legal requirement.

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  47. Rebecca -  July 17, 2012 - 9:15 am

    To the people that are complaining about this article, why don’t you guys help this website correct their information instead of just criticizing their hard work.

    Reply
  48. Shelley Miller -  July 17, 2012 - 8:45 am

    I’m also curious about: E & F (as many have said), O & Q (ditto), C & G (already explained by someone: thanks!), B & D (yeah!), I & L, H & K, M & N, A & T, S & Z, V & W, X & Y and J & U! Maybe not all perfect analogies but it seems our 26 letters divide up into matching pairs.

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  49. Messele Zeleke -  July 17, 2012 - 7:36 am

    What about those words starting with “W” for example,Write,Wrong,& etc… W is silent while reading those words? PLEASE KEEP ON DOING THE hotword.dictionary.com

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  50. Messele Zeleke -  July 17, 2012 - 6:52 am

    Do W & V have a relationship or come from the same letter?

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  51. Birdo -  July 17, 2012 - 6:16 am

    I like cheese

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  52. Fred -  July 17, 2012 - 4:11 am

    OK, by now we all get that Tai missed Phoenician and pi. Move on already to something new.

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  53. isaac -  July 17, 2012 - 3:46 am

    It doesn’t even matter. Why do people over think everything? Maybe this was just a coincidence? The Romans didn’t just wake up and say, “Hmm i think we’re going to make an alphabet, but we can’t think of standard letters so we’ll just double up on a few.”
    ???

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  54. Distinction -  July 16, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    For those who are all mistaken, Phoenician, pe, nor pi are not English words.

    Phoenician (root word is Phoenicia) is a classical Greek term used to refer to the people who lived of the region of the major Canaacite port towns.

    Pe belongs to the Phoenician language.

    And of course, pi is used in 1748 by Swiss mathematician Leonhart Euler. Euler based pi on the Greek letter, “pi”, as an abbreviation of Greek peripheria “periphery”. And guess where the Greeks made up that letter pi? From the Hebrew dictionary, which means “little mouth”.

    See how the word “American” was not involved in any of the words listed above.

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  55. Distinction -  July 16, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    For those who are all mistaken, Phoenician, pe, nor pi are not English words.

    Phoenician (root word is Phoenicia) is a classical Greek term used to refer to the people who lived of the region of the major Canaacite port towns.

    Pe belongs to the Phoenician language.

    And of course, pi is used in 1748 by Swiss mathematician Leonhart Euler. Euler based pi on the Greek letter, “pi”, as an abbreviation of Greek peripheria “periphery”. And guess where the Greeks made up that letter pi? From the Hebrew dictionary, which means “little mouth”.

    See how the word “American” was not involved in any of the words listed above.

    Reply
  56. Wallflower -  July 16, 2012 - 6:37 pm

    10% means that if I walk over to my dictionary, then 1/10 of it will be filled with PAGES in the letter P section. Oh…but I don’t have one to test this on. I’m going to need someone to go check, PLEASE. :)

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  57. Anonymous -  July 16, 2012 - 6:29 pm

    Tal said ENGLISH word…Phonecian is more of a nationality and pi and PE are more like Greek words!

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  58. Chris -  July 16, 2012 - 8:23 am

    Tal, you obviously don’t know what ironic means.

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  59. Anthony -  July 16, 2012 - 8:08 am

    or U and J

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  60. D -  July 16, 2012 - 6:46 am

    Phoenician

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  61. atlmagi -  July 16, 2012 - 5:49 am

    Tal,

    I found at least 4 words starting with “p”.

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  62. Gladys Wang -  July 16, 2012 - 5:13 am

    What an interesting article!
    It really help me a lot!

    Reply
  63. S -  July 16, 2012 - 4:29 am

    Erm, ” Phoenician” begins with ‘p’ as far as I know

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  64. Paul -  July 16, 2012 - 2:22 am

    @tal like the word “Phoenicians” ?

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  65. h.a. -  July 15, 2012 - 9:38 pm

    Response to TaI.

    But we use pi………….

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  66. sal -  July 15, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    In response to Tal, what about Phoenician and Phoenicians?

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  67. Dave -  July 15, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    Phoenician does. So does Pi.

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  68. jeff -  July 15, 2012 - 5:00 pm

    what about z & N ?

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  69. BiGTiMe NeRD -  July 15, 2012 - 12:22 pm

    “This may be a surprise, but the letter P is actually common in English. Almost 10% of English words begin with the letter P!”

    I agree Tal – very ironic. According to this statistic there should have been about 30 English words that began with P, but there were none.

    Perhaps it is true that almost 10% of English words begin with the letter P … however, their usefulness may be obscure.

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  70. Meh -  July 15, 2012 - 9:37 am

    @ Tal yes there is, read it again -.-

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  71. Socrates -  July 15, 2012 - 9:11 am

    Orthography (from greek: orthos = correct and graphein = to write) signifies correct spelling rather than “the study of the shapes of letters”.

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  72. Pauline K. -  July 15, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Followong on from Tal’s observation, I read somewhere that Anglo-Saxon, or Old English had few words beginning with P. There are many now as most words with this initial come from French and Latin.

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  73. monika -  July 15, 2012 - 7:22 am

    I consistently write a p instead of b (and vice versa) when using pen and paper

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  74. To Tal -  July 15, 2012 - 7:09 am

    Phoenician starts with P.

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  75. k.g.parthasarathy -  July 15, 2012 - 5:48 am

    dictionary,com provides interesting information. Does the same evolution aplly to all the 26 alphabets?

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  76. RAR -  July 15, 2012 - 5:34 am

    Comment directed to TAL ….that is why the writer suggested 10% that’s not much at all ….nothing ironic about it….!

    Comment directed to article: WOW, Just interesting facts of our alphabet….everything has a beginning…I think this is so interesting. Love to learn!

    Reply
  77. Dixylo -  July 15, 2012 - 1:35 am

    “……. the Greeks turned the letter around and added the short leg to the side…….”

    It seems this is a disputable issue at present. According to ‘Letter Perfect’ by David Sacks, it was the Romans who added the short leg; but according to Wikipedia, “It is likely that some Etruscan and Western Greek forms of the letter added the extra stroke to distinguish it from a later form of the letter P.”, but this lacks citation.

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  78. Maggie -  July 15, 2012 - 1:19 am

    @ Tal, your analytical skills are really good. I like, I like.

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  79. name -  July 14, 2012 - 8:18 pm

    actually, Phoenician starts with P Tal

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  80. Sallie -  July 14, 2012 - 4:06 pm

    “Tal: Does anyone else find it ironic that not a single English word in that article begins with the letter P?”

    Phoenician :-)

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  81. janjamm -  July 14, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    @Tal But, what about “Phoenicians”?

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  82. Some Random Dude -  July 14, 2012 - 11:08 am

    10% of all words in the English language starts with P. I doubt it when I can’t find like any in this article.

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  83. Erin dobj -  July 14, 2012 - 9:57 am

    Except Phoenician….and pi. English encorporates words from other languages.

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  84. David -  July 14, 2012 - 8:21 am

    Tal, I think you missed the word “Phoenician” in that article which is an English word that begins with the letter P. So, because the word “Phoenician” starts with the letter P and it is in the article, you can’t say that “not a single English word in that article begins with the letter P.”

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  85. Joe -  July 14, 2012 - 7:34 am

    What about the word Phoenician?

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  86. A-18-K -  July 14, 2012 - 7:16 am

    @Tal: How very observant of you.

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  87. Bonnie -  July 14, 2012 - 6:01 am

    What about the letter “x”?

    For example, when a person who doesn’t read/write has to “sign” a legal document before a witness, he places his “x” on the line. Under the most rudimentary guidelines, this is considered a valid “signature.”

    But why this letter instead of any other? Why not an “o,” which is more easily made from a mechanical standpoint (the o requires only one continuous, circular stroke, as opposed to the x’s two disconnected, perpendicular strokes)?

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  88. Jayzee -  July 14, 2012 - 4:38 am

    Phoenician

    Reply
  89. Sampurna -  July 14, 2012 - 4:04 am

    Tal-
    Phoenician and pi.

    I blatantly ignored the “do not feed the trolls” warning!

    Reply
  90. @Alexcast -  July 14, 2012 - 3:01 am

    Except Phoenicians.

    Reply
  91. Krisha -  July 14, 2012 - 2:05 am

    hey I want to know about letter ‘U’ . Can you please explain me the details of this letter.

    Reply
  92. DrHans -  July 14, 2012 - 12:49 am

    Is Phoenician not an English word?

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  93. pz -  July 13, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    Tal: We’re not to suppose the word “Phoenicians” is English, then?

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  94. Alex -  July 13, 2012 - 7:29 pm

    None except Phoenicians and pi…

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  95. maximino -  July 13, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    how about the capital E and F does the capital E added also a one leg.

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  96. maximino -  July 13, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    how about the capital E and F does the capital E added also a one leg.

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  97. TomasBarba -  July 13, 2012 - 6:44 pm

    You should look into the letters C and G, their history is also interesting. In Latin C was always the hard sound. When they came into contact with languages that had the soft sound they added the — to tell the reader how to sound this type of C.

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  98. maximino -  July 13, 2012 - 6:43 pm

    how about the capital E and F does the capital E added also a one leg. thanks for the knowledge that you are imparting to the commentators .

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  99. Ray -  July 13, 2012 - 5:18 pm

    @Tal The “Phœnicians,” unless you don’t take PH for P.

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  100. Ray -  July 13, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    1. How did the Greeks get the pi-variant “ϖ” (little-omega-bar)?

    2. How did the ‘ancients’ pronounce, the p–? Linguistic evidence of Sumer, Egypt, and environs, suggests it was an aspirated-p close to “ops” whence PRTTU became the Euphrates, SPDT became Sothis, AN-WP was Anwps which became Anubis….

    Reply
  101. Paul -  July 13, 2012 - 5:09 pm

    Eyewitness needs to get his vision checked. The article uses the word “Phoenician” several times.

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  102. cosmos kid -  July 13, 2012 - 5:06 pm

    no, not really. although that is amusing.

    Reply
  103. Darrion -  July 13, 2012 - 4:26 pm

    Yes there is a word: Phoenicians, and it pops up more than once.

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  104. fabgirl -  July 13, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    Tai-Yes, that is funny

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  105. Jonathan -  July 13, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    Tal, pi does. it;s in the last long paragraph

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  106. Paul B -  July 13, 2012 - 1:46 pm

    Is it just me? I’m guessing that based on the time it took to update “the hot word” from the “# mark” post and the change of writing style, that we have a new blogger taking over at “the hot word”?

    Reply
  107. Pod -  July 13, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    Tal, I was just about to post the same exact thing when I saw your comment!

    Reply
  108. PANDER | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  July 13, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    [...] ‘Pander’ sounds like P and R in our mind’s eye we’d say. — We’d much prefer meander through the language of the Political Scream. — Phoenician, Greek and Hebrew — Romans, Etruscans and English too: — The Confusion of the Olympic Balance Beam. — Upper Crust and Lower Case: an R, a P n J. — Let’s have another Cup of Coffee and better Public Relations along the Way. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  109. suzieque -  July 13, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    @ Tal: Phoenician is an English word in the article, and it begins with P.

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  110. GreyEyes -  July 13, 2012 - 12:22 pm

    I agree, Tal. I wonder, was that done on purpose for some confusing reason or simply bad luck?

    Reply
  111. HHHPUZZLES -  July 13, 2012 - 11:59 am

    What an interesting article! I remember reading a long time ago the interesting stories behind the letters D and T as recounted by the great linguists, the Grimm brothers of fairy tale fame. Could you refresh my memory and that of your other readers about the history of D and T?

    Thank you.

    The Puzzle Lady

    Reply
  112. Malaysia -  July 13, 2012 - 10:24 am

    What about E and F?

    Reply
  113. Eleanor -  July 13, 2012 - 10:15 am

    How about M and N?

    Reply
  114. Harry -  July 13, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Cool story bro

    Reply
  115. Brice -  July 13, 2012 - 8:57 am

    what about A and V ,E and F

    Reply
  116. Miss Anne Thrope -  July 13, 2012 - 8:55 am

    I have always wondered about the connection between omega, omicron and our letter “O”, and what they mean.

    Reply
  117. snark -  July 13, 2012 - 8:52 am

    How about ‘Phoenician’?

    Reply
  118. Cyberquill -  July 13, 2012 - 8:19 am

    I’m curious about the scarlet letter.

    Reply
  119. sunny -  July 13, 2012 - 7:38 am

    very cool

    Reply
  120. TFreeborn -  July 13, 2012 - 7:15 am

    Phoenician

    Reply
  121. ed -  July 13, 2012 - 6:56 am

    Also, E and F?

    Reply
  122. Hector -  July 13, 2012 - 5:40 am

    Hector, perhaps you missed the part where Tal said “English”. Ah yes i did, though how many words are truly “English”?

    Reply
  123. Hector -  July 13, 2012 - 5:38 am

    Tal, perhaps you missed the words Phoenicians, pi & pe.

    Reply
  124. Phil -  July 13, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Phoenician?

    Reply
  125. Dicky -  July 13, 2012 - 5:03 am

    “However, the Greeks changed the shaped dramatically to the letter pi…”

    Typo typo!

    Reply
  126. Anna -  July 13, 2012 - 4:06 am

    NICE

    Reply
  127. Maria Dermitzaki -  July 13, 2012 - 4:00 am

    Latin letter P is written in Greek alphabet as Π, π (pee)
    and latin letter R is written as P, ρ (rho) so, there is no letter R in Greek.

    Reply
  128. sukhvinder -  July 13, 2012 - 2:43 am

    i think u sud explore these also..
    F,R,B,P
    I,L,T
    O, Q
    and about V,W,Y

    Reply
  129. JayAtlas -  July 13, 2012 - 12:03 am

    So Tal, is Phoenician not a word? Other than it being a proper noun.

    Reply
  130. Me -  July 12, 2012 - 9:28 pm

    Orthography actually deals with proper spelling according to a system of spelling, or that system.

    Reply
  131. Tal -  July 12, 2012 - 7:57 pm

    Does anyone else find it ironic that not a single English word in that article begins with the letter P?

    Reply
  132. Eyewitness -  July 12, 2012 - 5:16 pm

    This article was a prime example of why I check Dictionary.com every day. Thank, team–so interesting, so entertaining.

    Reply
  133. Clifton Palmer McLendon -  July 12, 2012 - 5:05 pm

    You wrote “When the letter entered the Greek alphabet, the Greeks turned the letter around and added the short leg to the side. They called this letter rho.”

    Rho looks exactly like a capital P. The Romans added the short leg.

    Reply
  134. Jeff -  July 12, 2012 - 4:20 pm

    What about O and Q?

    Reply

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