Y

Y, 25th letter of the alphabet . It was a Latin importation of the eastern Greek upsilon (see U ), which was pronounced like ü the Romans used it for Greek words. In English y mainly represents the semivowel occurring in words such as yet the same semivowel is the second member of the diphthongs ā, ē, ī, and oi. The modern ignorant use of y in ye for the (as in Ye Olde Shoppe ) is based on a misreading of an old sign for th. In chemistry Y is the symbol for the element yttrium .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Language and Linguistics

Browse By Subject