A Brief History of the Letter H

the letter h, phoenician, author, silentThough it’s a high-value letter in Scrabble and Words with Friends, H is a relatively common letter. Statistically speaking, it is the eighth most commonly used letter in the English language. That’s because H is usually paired with other consonants like wh, ch, sh, and gh. H is found in the most common two-letter pair (th) and in the most common three-letter combination (the). Find the raw data here. (The letter H is typically pronounced aitch.)

Where did the letter come from, though? It can be traced back to Northern Semitic languages and today is the English corollary to the Hebrew letter heth, which is pronounced as it is spelled. (Some letters like u and j are relatively new to written language. Who is responsible for the letter J?)

Phoenician and proto-Semitic languages are the earliest recorded alphabets that use symbols to represent sounds rather than to represent things like Egyptian hieroglyphics. (Greek is considered the first true alphabet because it uses symbols to represent both consonant and vowel sounds). In proto-Semitic, the letter H was also the word for thread or fence, and if you look at the letter H, it is still clear that it looks like a portion of a fence.

Like most stories of the English language, the tale of the H involves scribes in England in the 1000s and 1100s. As the French influence on Middle English began, the letter h kept moving around, coming in and out of words. Take the word author. The word originally entered the language from French as autour, but around the 1500s, scribes started inserting the h and changed it into author. Scribes also put Hs on the beginning of words, even though the Hs remained silent, as in the words honest and historical. So today we often put the article an before words that start with a silent H, as in the phrase, “an honest Joe.” (Why do we capitalize letters in the first place? Find out.)

What other letters of the English language would you like to learn about? Do you have a favorite letter?


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) November 7, 2002 | LESLIE ANDERSON PHOTO FINDS – Some photographers still shoot pictures in black and white. And Tony Decaneas still processes their film.

But Panopticon Inc. has come a long way since 1970, when Decaneas started a custom black-and-white photo lab in Boston’s Back Bay as a way to support his love of photography.

Over three decades – and a move to Waltham two years ago – Panopticon has gained renown as a gallery for artists ranging from 19th-century Alpine photographer Vittorio Sella to mid-20th-century civil rights chronicler Ernest Withers. website bellingham high school

This month, visitors to the gallery at 435 Moody St. can view “Discoveries,” a show by German photographer Ulrich Mach, an artist- in-residence at Boston University. It features a series of portraits of artists Francoise Gilot and Alexander Calder.

But they also can explore a new offering at Decaneas’s gallery: bins of vintage and contemporary photographs that carry neither big names nor big prices. Carefully matted and priced at $50 and up, the images range from firetrucks and sporting events to 19th-century urban landscapes.

“People can buy instant ancestors if they want,” said Decaneas, who lives in Weston. “They are fun. Some of them are campy and others are really quite artistic and socially relevant.” BINGO BONKERS – Chloe is a chain-smoking dollmaker who is renowned for her replicas of “bingo ladies.” Her brother is obsessed with Spider Man and psychologically reverts to infancy upon hearing he’s about to be a father.

Add to the mix a homecoming queen who gives birth to a baby boy in the locker room, and you’ve got “Bingo Under the Crucifix,” the latest satire penned by Laurie Foos, 36, of Shrewsbury. “I’m not terribly religious, but I did play bingo as a kid,” said Foos, whose previous comedic novels include “Ex Utero,” “Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist,” and “Twinship.” Foos teaches a prose writing workshop twice a month at Borders Books and Music in Shrewsbury. Newcomers are welcome (they should call the store ahead at 508-845-8665). The next workshop is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Foos has the same advice for new and experienced writers. “My philosophy, especially in first drafts, is writing as close to the unconscious as possible. Just let things come,” she said. “Then you have to be like a surgeon when you’re revising.” FAMILY FRIENDLY – You’d love to go shopping for art, but you lack two things: a baby sitter and a fat wallet. site bellingham high school

Not to worry. Neither one is necessary at this weekend’s Holliston Mill Open Studios, where shoppers can choose from a panoply of affordable artwork while their children are entertained with face painting and water balloon yo-yos.

“Our shows are more for the general public,” said Christine Santo, who fashions one-of-a-kind lamps with wooden balls, glass beads, pieces of metal, and shades made from banana tree fiber.

“It’s hard to cough up $500 for a wall painting. It’s much easier and more gratifying to go to an event that’s fun and be able to actually buy things that are totally unique and affordable and practical.” Melissa Glen makes ceramic ornaments, mosaic mirrors, and murals. Nicole St. Pierre designs shibori silk scarves, jackets, and ties. Other artists sell handbags, restyled vintage clothing, and semiprecious stone jewelry.

Landscape artists, photographers, and printmakers round out the show, with a special visit from guest artist Elle Randall, who creates portraits of children on the spot for just $12.

VENTURESOME BRASS – Next week, Bellingham High’s big brass band will take a few lessons from a little brass band.

Brass Venture, a quintet based in Whitinsville, will hold music clinics for band members Nov. 15, then follow up with a public concert at 7 that night at Bellingham High School auditorium.

Admission is $5. All proceeds from the concert, which is sponsored by the Bellingham Friends of Music, will be used to buy additional concert uniforms for the high school band.

MUSEUM NEWS – For an institution dedicated to preserving the past, there’s a lot of news coming from Framingham’s historical society.

First of all, it has a new director, Thomas S. Harris, who formerly oversaw the Thoreau Society in Lincoln. Second, it has a new logo, which incorporates a circa 1840 view of Framingham Centre.

Finally, it has a new name – Framingham Historical Society and Museum – to spread the message that four centuries of history are on view at the society’s museum at the corner of Vernon and Grove streets.

The museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. For information, call 508-872-3780.

WIZARD OF MILLIS – The Millis Theatre Group will present Don A. Mueller’s adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” through Nov. 16 at the Church of Christ Auditorium on Exchange Street (Route 115).

Performances are 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Nov. 15, and 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 16. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children under 12. For more information, call 508-376-5404.

GUYS AND DOLLS – Newton Country Players, a community theater group that has entertained audiences for the past eight decades, will begin performances this weekend of the classic musical “Guys and Dolls.” The production, which features tunes such as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” will take place at the Windsor Club, 1601 Beacon St., in Waban.

Performances are at 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, 15, and 16, and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 and 17. Tickets are $15; senior citizens and students pay $13. For more information, call 617-244-9538.

Leslie Anderson can be reached at anderson @globe.com.



  1. ..... -  October 7, 2014 - 7:56 am


  2. Elena Lovato -  September 15, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    Snape, Snape, Slitherin, Snape, Ron WEaslEy
    -Harry Potter Puppets

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  4. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 6:20 am

    Cool. Never knew that b4.

    Thank you ira. I was about to say, “What the heck does the letter H have to do with Ron Weasley?”

  5. Armor Game -  January 8, 2013 - 4:07 am

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there..

  6. ira -  June 13, 2012 - 11:58 am

    I think it has to do with Ron Weasley because it is often found paired up with another letter (that being Harry I guess?). Yeah… you guys should have made that clear.

  7. Alphonso Dunsford -  May 17, 2012 - 7:14 pm

    I have taken note that of all varieties of insurance, medical care insurance is the most controversial because of the issue between the insurance plan company’s duty to remain profitable and the consumer’s need to have insurance policies. Insurance companies’ profits on health plans are certainly low, thus some providers struggle to make a profit. Thanks for the concepts you talk about through this site.

  8. Renee -  May 13, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    1.think of your crush
    2.make a heart with your hands
    3.then kiss your hand while still making the heart
    4.then put the heart where your real heart is
    5.tomorrow your crush will ask you out
    6.this will only work if u post this on your favorite article

  9. DC Fawcett -  April 24, 2012 - 6:50 am

    I’d like to learn about the letter H. You have a nice website here.

  10. No Name -  April 14, 2012 - 11:27 am

    i get it!!!!!!!!!

    sometimes dictionary.com has confusing titles, but this makes sense to me now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. MichellePetro -  April 14, 2012 - 11:27 am

    I love the Harry Potter series!!!!!!!

    @Ron Weasley, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha NOT.
    u should not be dating Lavender Brown. Hermione is interested in you….go out with her…..P.S. i know you 2 marry at the end even tho i didnt even finish the 6th book yet……..

    LOL i know ur not the real Ron Weasley, there isn’t one ; Rupert Grint is just an actor.
    so i dont need a mary torres commenting you actually thought he was the real Ron Weasley???????? (no offense to mary torres i just used you as an example bcoz i know u comment a lot. p.s. i <3 u the most ur personality is really unique judging by ur comments.)

  12. April -  April 11, 2012 - 2:01 pm

    I find that odd. You would think that since it is so common that it would be the most worn-out on most people’s keyboards and yet, it is the letter N which holds that honor of having the letter worn to the point where it is halfway invisible.

  13. MrBossMan -  April 4, 2012 - 12:30 pm

    Also, we typically don’t put an “an” before words like “unicorn” that are pronounced with an apparent Y at the beginning.

  14. Lara -  February 17, 2012 - 9:58 am

    Citrus’s answer kind of does make sense………

  15. Lara -  February 17, 2012 - 8:26 am

    I don’t get it. What does H have to do with Ron?

  16. o -  February 13, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    I only clicked on this because it said “Ron Weasley” I didn’t realize that it was comparing “H” to “Rom Weasley”. Ron Weasley is not common by the way!

  17. mary torres -  February 12, 2012 - 12:48 pm


  18. Ron Weasley -  February 12, 2012 - 11:06 am

    Huff, thanks a lot. I am a respected wizard and when you call me a tag along dude and relate me to H it makes me say a wizard swear. If my brothers heard about this they reducto you into nothing. Also, I feel like your making fun of my family because H stands for Hobo. I am now a depressed Ron Weasley, thanks a lot.

  19. Josie -  February 12, 2012 - 10:44 am

    I hate the letter N. (just sayin)

    i love the letter F and the letter R and the letter K

  20. Alisha -  February 10, 2012 - 11:32 pm

    My favourite letter is A
    I can relate to the letter A in a few ways which include:
    My name starts and ends with A
    My middle name ends with A
    The 2nd and last letter of my surname is A
    I was born in Australia which starts with A
    I was born in Autumn which starts with A
    I was born near the beggining of April (end of March) which starts with A
    p.s. in Australia, summer is Dec-Feb (so instead of a white Christmas, we get a boiling hot Christmas), Autumn is Mar-May, winter is Jun-Aug and spring is Sep-Nov

  21. Jeanna -  February 3, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    I like Q and K. Q for quirky, quiche, quick-minded, quake, queer, quote, queue. K for key, kite, kayak, killer (queen!), koala, koi, kudos.

  22. Someone random... -  February 2, 2012 - 12:25 am

    ha! who says ‘istorical’! yeah maybe the ‘h’ in honesty is silent, but really, historical??!!! whoever did this, make sure u check it! fun and interesting, but just check:)

  23. Akpoke Emmanuel -  February 2, 2012 - 12:00 am

    I wanna ask Don weasley a question

  24. TETO -  February 1, 2012 - 9:03 pm


  25. No U -  February 1, 2012 - 8:33 pm


  26. Ushma -  February 1, 2012 - 8:09 pm

    Here Ron Weasley probably implies ‘the common’

  27. Kari -  February 1, 2012 - 7:37 pm

    I don’t know about you, but when I say “historical”, the h can clearly be heard.

  28. Raul -  February 1, 2012 - 7:15 pm


    Lol you’re cool.

    The letter ‘H’ happens to be my second favorite. My first is the letter ‘R’.

    I bet nobody can guess why……. =)

  29. Harry Mason -  February 1, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    This is one of the most meaningless things I have ever read.

  30. zach -  February 1, 2012 - 6:01 pm

    Wait how is this sad?

  31. Samantha -  February 1, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    Doesn’t answer the question frankly, thanks for the history though

  32. katie -  February 1, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    How come nobody gets the Ron Weasley thing?

  33. beausow -  February 1, 2012 - 5:07 pm

    RHon WHeasly, eH WHat?
    WHo tHe Hell is He? Ha, Ha
    Anyway, I love “H”, “easly”

  34. Zali -  February 1, 2012 - 4:59 pm

    I would like to learn about the letter ‘s’.

  35. W -  February 1, 2012 - 4:49 pm


  36. W -  February 1, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DOES THIS MEAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Devin -  February 1, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    And holy crap, people, learn how to spell. IT IS NOT CUTE to purposefully spell words incorrectly. It makes you sound like a stereotypical teenage girl who is maybe not stupid, but likes to act that way because she thinks that will make guys like her better. And for some guys it does – they don’t want a girl smarter than them. But news flash: that isn’t the kind of guy you want to end up with anyway. In case nobody has told you yet, men will appreciate you more if they can see that you have a brain with which you think coherent, independent thoughts.

    I know this is incredibly off topic, but it makes me angry to see women intentionally subjugate themselves.

  38. Devin -  February 1, 2012 - 4:35 pm

    I’m getting annoyed with the titles of these articles…. article writing lesson #1: If you make a claim in the title / abstract, you must at least mention this claim in your essay, or make the connection clear. How exactly is this article about the history of the letter ‘H’ a sad and winding history?

  39. Mr. Loves-to-Poop -  February 1, 2012 - 4:31 pm

    O rly…

  40. Matt -  February 1, 2012 - 4:23 pm

    Talk about a poorly written article

  41. Sarah -  February 1, 2012 - 4:07 pm

    The h in historical can be silent. It’s very common to hear people say “an ‘istorical event” instead of “a historical event”. One may say “historical” with the h when listing the word by itself, but still drop the h in a sentence. I hear that all the time…not sure what the confusion is?

  42. yo yo -  February 1, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    I like snape! :) ;)

  43. gnuj noes -  February 1, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    eh? wats this? I don’t get it. what does ron weasley have anything to do with that? why is it sad if its used so much? WHY ARE THEY CREATEING A STINKIN SUBJECT ABOUT THIS??? O.o

  44. sherryyu -  February 1, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    this is carzzzy and funny lol

  45. rustigsmed -  February 1, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    “Like most stories of the English language, the tale of the h involves scribes in England in the 1000s and 1100s.”

    It would be incorrect to suggest that the letter H came into the English language from the French (Norman) influence on Middle English (but yes it did move around like most letters).

    Old English loved the letter H too, long before the French influence:

    Hroðgar, Healfdene, Heorot, Heorogar, Halga, Hygelac, Heaðobards

    The letter H also naturally dropped off the start of words in the scandinavian languages also, check out the swedish example.

    English What Where Why(wherefore)
    Norwegian Hva Hvor Hvorfor
    Danish Hvad Hvor Hvorfor
    Swedish Vad Var Varför

  46. Mark -  February 1, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    Gosh. H is Ron since H is s, c, and t’s sidekick, just as Ron is harry’s.

  47. Addison -  February 1, 2012 - 2:29 pm

    that is so mean because in 9 and i have read all the harry potter books and seen all 8 of them and i love ron………………………….

  48. Jennifer -  February 1, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Obviously the link between the letter H and Ron Weasley is due to the fact that it really doesn’t amount to much unless it’s paired with another letter… and for occasional “herorics”

    Ba-doom-doom, crash.

  49. Lunatiq -  February 1, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    How is the ‘h’ in historical silent?

  50. Hannah -  February 1, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    How perfect! Not only is Ron Weasley by far my favorite character from the series, but I’m also lucky enough to have two hs in my name. Do you think we’re meant to be?

  51. Smiti -  February 1, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    It’s because the letters need H. Just like others need Ron Weasley.

  52. Kaitlin Burke -  February 1, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    It mentioned Ron Weasley because he’s like Harry’s sidekick, and they are saying that H is a sidekick letter.

  53. Sophia -  February 1, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    I just like it because it has something to do with Harry Potter! : )

  54. Anthony -  February 1, 2012 - 12:40 pm

    First of all, thank you all for reminding me who Ron Weasley is. Second of all, he was surely mentioned in the headline because some overzealous editor and Harry Potter fan thought that might be one way to drive traffic to this otherwise forlorn little article. It appears he or she was correct.

    What would be more interesting would be some coherent explanation of why medieval scribes became fond of dumping this particular letter randomly into French words. Alas, I may never learn.

  55. unknown -  February 1, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    he is a harry potter character!!

  56. unknown -  February 1, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    Ron Wesely was a part of harry potter ,what does this have to do with h being the saddest letter in the alphabet!!!!

  57. unknown -  February 1, 2012 - 12:30 pm

    what in the world does this have to do with him???????????i just do not get it

  58. Kevin -  February 1, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    I’m confused. What does this have to do with Ron Weasly?

  59. Candice -  February 1, 2012 - 12:07 pm


    The French word “autour” influenced Middle English — meaning that the word itself represents Old or Middle French. Later, “autour” developed into the Modern Fr. that we know today, “auteur.”

  60. Jul -  February 1, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    The French word “autour” influenced Middle English — meaning that the word itself represents Old or Middle French. Later, “autour” developed into the Modern Fr. that we know today, “auteur.”

  61. Me -  February 1, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    In French, the letter h is silent. There are, though, aspirated aitches and un-aspirated aitches.

  62. Sinclair -  February 1, 2012 - 11:43 am

    Who the heck IS that Weasely chap?

  63. Brent -  February 1, 2012 - 11:16 am

    People keep asking because it’s a poorly written article. If I say “I’m gonna make you a steal dinner!” and then go on to give you a ceasar salad, vegetable soup, and mashed potatoes, you would ask where the steak is. In the same way you don’t hook readers with a pop culture analogy and then fail to explain it. But it’s nice to know that if I applied for a job as a writer here, it couldn’t possibly be that hard to get a job.

  64. LiteralDan -  February 1, 2012 - 10:44 am

    The H in words like “historical” is only silent if you’re from New York (more or less), where they pronounce “human” as “YOO-mun”, for example. So yes, for most of the rest of the English-speaking world, that item in this article is incorrect.

    As for the Ron Weasley question, it is really pretty self-evident, but if you’re still thirsty for more specific answers/discussion, please at least scan through the comments above, 60% of which are asking or answering that very question, in a small variety of ways.

    And lastly, to settle the other question that keeps popping up, it clearly was not meant to call Greek “the first language”, as the latter word was changed at some point to “alphabet”. So no one should have any further need to panickedly comment on or ask about that.

    (Note to Self: To generate a disproportionate amount of comments/traffic, cryptically mention Ron Weasley in all posts.)

  65. Vicaari -  February 1, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Of course I have a fav letter! that begins my name….
    V is another one.

    However I very much like to know more about the letter Q. Why should Q always has to have U in Eng lang?

    @ Donna Bungo: Ron Weasley is used metaphorically, perhaps, so we’ll be very curius about the aritcle.
    Ron wesley is a character in Harry Potter series; Ron is there for Harry whenever the later needs him. (Like our mothers who are always ready and awaits her children) Likewise H is always there to T (tH as in the), S (sH in she), C (cH in character) and so on whenever these alphabets need H.

    @ Andrew W Soukup: Not lang but ALPHABET “Greek is considered the first true alphabet b/c it uses symbols to represent both consonants and vowel sounds”

    @ Dave: I didn’t get that either. However I know it’s kind of bragging/game as to prove that we are first @ this and such that should not be here in Dictionary esp when it teaches something or promots education. It is easy to forget it looks by some
    One thing I know that many langs are in the category of alphabet (mostly in Europe, possibly), while many other such as Sanskrit and other in Asia …, perhaps, their’s are of SCRIPT form; these are made up of ABJADs & ABUGIDAs. Here in latter the consonants have inherent AU; no seperate vowel, AU, needed, and for other vowels they have UNIQUE way of representing them.
    Mind you these are new to me and I am yet to fully understand but enjoying exceedingly….

    It’s great article… thanks

  66. mark -  February 1, 2012 - 9:26 am

    @Donna Bungo Because Ron is the loneliest of the Harry Potter bunch. He’s a ginger, after all.

  67. Jamaica -  February 1, 2012 - 9:25 am

    Umm, the hebrew letter “heth” is NOT pronounced like that. Its “hay”

  68. Jane-Jane -  February 1, 2012 - 8:53 am

    Poor Ron. XD
    He rarely gets any glory.

  69. Rin -  February 1, 2012 - 8:42 am

    People need to stop commenting with questions 10 people have already answered. It’s annoying.

  70. yomamma -  February 1, 2012 - 8:36 am

    do u honestly care about the the letter h so much that you have compared it to a fictional character? ur cool…

  71. THE LETTER H | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  February 1, 2012 - 8:35 am

    [...] How Now Brown Cow? — “My name Jose Jimenez,” says Rousseau — Still not chasing fowl. — Complicated linguistics are not our cup of Tea. — If it weren’t for online dictionaries — Who else would Oui be? — Don’t Cha know. –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]

  72. Ashley -  February 1, 2012 - 8:17 am

    Ron Weasley is the underdog, in the movies he was kindof made fun of, and never in the spotlight.
    H is always sharing the spotlight with someone.

    And @Andrew W. Soukup
    It says “first true alphabet”
    Not language.

  73. Randy -  February 1, 2012 - 8:00 am

    “H” is a great letter. It’s one of only 8 letters that stand on their own two feet; straight and proud. And that is as it should be for H. Happiness starts with H. As does Honesty and Humility. And why trust a Handshake? Because it begins with H, of course. What are the two most important parts of our body? Our Head and our Heart…without which we wouldn’t have much Health. Again, there’s H leading the charge. Oh yes, without my Hands, it would have been much harder to type this! Ah H, a great letter, where the Heck would we be without it?

  74. ed -  February 1, 2012 - 7:38 am

    Those of you who are saying “Greek isn’t the first true language”, please educate us. What is the first true language?

  75. Gheorge -  February 1, 2012 - 7:37 am

    Currently listening to the audiobook ‘Needful Things’, read by Stephen King. He pronounces every H in every word (white, what, wheel, etc.). Had me wondering if I’ve been doing it wrong all these years, but the dictionary gives both options.

  76. S -  February 1, 2012 - 7:04 am

    My favorite letter is “S”. It’s kind of sensual…

    Ess. Yes.

  77. Me -  February 1, 2012 - 6:53 am

    The Hebrew letter to which you refer is “Hey” and it is pronounced as such – not “Heth”. Next time consult with any grade school child who learns the language before writing such an egregious error. Just basic research. Thanks

  78. Travis -  February 1, 2012 - 6:37 am

    I love how people comment on things that they either a.) didn’t take the time to read correctly or even more incredulous, b.) comment before reading any previously posted posts.

    Seriously, people, are you kidding me? Multiple people have offered interpretations of the Ron Weasley thing, yet how many posts keep asking the same stupid question?

    Bron, I thought the exact same thing, lol. I, too, am curious how the “h” in historical is somehow silent. Dictionary.com should really screen who they’re letting write these articles, otherwise it risks becoming as fallacious as BleacherReport.com is for sports articles (anybody can submit an article to get published without any kind of proof-reading for fact accuracy.)

  79. Nishtha -  February 1, 2012 - 5:56 am

    Ron Weasley was always there beside Harry Potter in times of good and bad. Harry Potter = H. Ron Weasley is always there beside him….

  80. David -  February 1, 2012 - 5:51 am

    What does H have to do with Ron Weasley???????

  81. Sam McFisher -  February 1, 2012 - 5:34 am

    wHo the Hell is Ron Weasly ?? .. am Mr. H :)

  82. K Wegman -  February 1, 2012 - 5:05 am

    Interestingly, the letter h has been adopted into the Japanese language because it’s pronunciation, “aitch,” is very similar to the word which means to be sexually aroused. You can see the letter h used in book titles, on posters, in advertisements, etc. in Japan.

    True story.

  83. Raymond -  February 1, 2012 - 4:17 am

    Yes, but in the semitic languages, specially Hebrew, the H-prefix is the definite article, the, or the pre-sentential questionmark, (plus other mid-word uses): they’d say the equivalent of, H-Why is H-sky blue, rather than, Why is the sky blue?

    More interesting on top of that, the K, was used as the ‘definitive’ article, stronger than the H ‘definite’ article, but because mankind is a step down from cosmic primacy, the meaning of the K became ‘like-’, so, K’Eb, meaning THE-Father (definitively-the-one-and-only, Adam), became ‘Like-the’-Father.

    And, as for the voweling, I’d say that’s a trivial comparison with the Greek: There are many shortcomings, even in English, most notably resulting in the lack of meaningful acronyms, and the excessives of jargonalia (?), and the weirdness of accents blending into spoken punctuation… H-Ebrew had liquids and semivowels (in the Alephbeth) that sufficed as both consonants and important vowels… But when spoken, the language does have vowels (which private students read and write as Points) extending the capability of the written: Vowels are more fluid, changing freely where English changes the cadence instead, identifying tenses and appositions, and distinguishing nouns from verbs, etc.

  84. Rustgold -  February 1, 2012 - 3:45 am

    Would people stop with the HP garbage. But then again, this blog is so flawed it deserves to be derailed. so go ahead.

  85. Rebekah -  February 1, 2012 - 2:55 am

    So what makes H the “saddest” letter

  86. Infernal Diatribe -  February 1, 2012 - 2:38 am

    people….concentrate HERE!!! what the author actually means is that Ron Weasly has often been seen as the “UNLUCKIEST” of all characters…if not so, atleast as the most “SCREWED-UP” for sure…the same is with the letter “H”…its always paired with a host of other letters which ends up reducing its worth, same as when comparing RON with HARRY, Ron seems to be the “NOT-SO-IMPORTANT” type…now do you get the picture??!!

  87. sharyl -  February 1, 2012 - 1:42 am

    i think its Hermoine…that’s why H is Ron Weasley’s alphabet.. he likes her.. so thats it!…she is he’s H…

  88. JJ in Chula Vista, CA -  February 1, 2012 - 12:18 am

    In my view, the written letter that’s a definite waste in the English language is the letter “x.” It doesn’t really have its own unique sound other than the perceived “ks;” it doesn’t play a major role in spoken language, but it does play a major role in abbreviated words like “x-ray,” in mathematics (10 x 2 = 20), and other visual systems, like in sports concepts and tic-tac-toe. I do think it’s a beautiful letter, however. As a written character it seems to make written English more varied and rich.

  89. Mike Rotch -  January 31, 2012 - 10:03 pm

    ^ya im with this guy, im lost.

  90. Tobias Mook -  January 31, 2012 - 8:22 pm

    O my god, people get your facts write! H originated from semetic Hay, which is pronounced as it’s spelled, but ‘Heth’ was actually Khet, and was not pronounced on e bit as it sounds!

  91. Amit -  January 31, 2012 - 8:21 pm

    It seems that the article is written in a haste and has nothing to do with anything in particular. Pointless by the normal standard of Hot Word Blog of Dictionary.com

  92. Hannah D -  January 31, 2012 - 7:51 pm

    woah, H is the 8th most common letter and the 8th letter of the alphabet! that’s awesome.

  93. 39 -  January 31, 2012 - 7:36 pm


  94. Camille -  January 31, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    How does this have anything to do with Ron Weasly.? O-O

  95. Bron -  January 31, 2012 - 7:10 pm

    I’m pretty sure you pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘historical’.
    And yeah – what’s the Ron Weasley thing?

  96. Me -  January 31, 2012 - 7:06 pm

    What about how words like “what” and “when” used to (and by some still are) pronounced with an h sound? Also, the letter h is silent in French. There are also two types of th sounds in English (the, thought).

  97. Tinn -  January 31, 2012 - 7:02 pm

    Confused much? Maybe this will clear things up…
    Ron Weasley = always right there w/Harry Potter
    H = always right there next to other letters

  98. Bart -  January 31, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    ….what does the letter H have to do with Ron Weasley

  99. January 31, 2012 on -  January 31, 2012 - 6:55 pm

    I don’t get the Ron Weasley part…. and what “h” in historical is silent? Just wondering, not in a mean way.

  100. Vanessa -  January 31, 2012 - 6:41 pm

    I think the ‘Ron Weasley’ thing is about how it’s often stuck to other letters (like how Ron, as the youngest son, is lumped in with all his older brothers). Kind of a lame analogy, but I’m guessing that’s what they’re getting at.

    On another note, I think it would make more sense if it said “h’s” rather than “hs.” I initially thought that that referred to a letter combination “hs,” rather than a plural of “h.”

  101. Duncan -  January 31, 2012 - 6:40 pm

    interesting…. and I think I can guess as to why it relates to Ron Weasley. When you hover your cursor over the tab on dictionary.com ‘s homepage, it says it is always paired with other letters. I can assume that they mean that Ron is also paired with other people. Like Harry, Hermione, Hagrid (funny, how each of those names start with the letter ‘H’). You never really see Ron with more than one other person. He is always paired with another. This may be splitting hairs, but I think this is why they mentioned Ron Weasley.

  102. Camerino -  January 31, 2012 - 6:37 pm

    I clicked this cuz I luv HP!! Where’s the Weasley??? and Greek IS NOT the first true language.. Even I know that!!

  103. Citrus -  January 31, 2012 - 6:10 pm

    Also, it is usually paired with other letters, and Ron is usually paired with other people like Harry or Hermione.

  104. Citrus -  January 31, 2012 - 6:06 pm

    “H” is the Ron Weasley of the alphabet because both are common, but have a high value. They are comparing “H”‘s high value in Scrabble and Words with Friends with Ron’s high value in the Harry Potter series.

  105. Betsy (age 12) -  January 31, 2012 - 5:54 pm

    What a coincidence – I’m watching “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ right now!

    Oh, and it does say “first true alphabet”, by the way.

    Still don’t get what the heck that has to do with Ron…

  106. Tao Bailong -  January 31, 2012 - 5:35 pm

    Ron Weasley is always paired up with someone – always a secondary character.

    FYI, the article does not say “Greek is considered the first true language”, it says “Greek is considered the first true alphabet”.

  107. Sonya -  January 31, 2012 - 5:22 pm

    My guess is because Ron Weasley is the “Sidekick” type.

  108. jul -  January 31, 2012 - 5:13 pm

    In french its auteur not autour

  109. Alex -  January 31, 2012 - 5:11 pm

    They call it the Ron Weasley because it’s the tag-along letter.

  110. Michelle -  January 31, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    My favorite letter is M.
    It’s fun to write, with he angles and stuff.
    I also sounds.. like.. I dunno.

    Ehmm. huh.

  111. Trey -  January 31, 2012 - 4:35 pm

    And what the heck does this have to do with Ron Weasley…?

  112. Goldie L -  January 31, 2012 - 4:27 pm

    You left out ph

  113. ryan -  January 31, 2012 - 4:26 pm

    it’s amazing!!!now i know that letter ”H” is the eight common letter used in English language………….

  114. Andrew W. Soukup -  January 31, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    “Greek is considered the first true language…”

    I think that statement needs to be reconsidered.

  115. dave -  January 31, 2012 - 4:14 pm

    First true language or first true alphabet? This seems like a very serious error.

  116. Donna Bungo -  January 31, 2012 - 3:38 pm

    I don’t get it. What does that explanation have to do with Ron Weasley?


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