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N (named en "N" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "en," op. cit.) is the fourteenth letter in the and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.


One of the most common hieroglyphs, , was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like the English , because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet. It is speculated by many that working in Egypt adapted hieroglyphics to create the first , and that they used the same snake symbol to represent N, because their word for "snake" may have begun with that sound. However, the name for the letter in the Phoenician, , and alphabets is nun, which means "" in some of these languages. The sound value of the letter was —as in , Etruscan, and modern languages.

Use in writing systems
represents a [[dental|dental nasal]] or [[alveolar nasal]] in virtually all languages that use the Latin alphabet, and in the International Phonetic Alphabet. A common digraph with  is , which represents a [[velar nasal]] in a variety of languages, usually positioned word-finally in [[English|English language]]. Often, before a [[velar plosive|velar stop]] (as in ''ink'' or ''jungle''),  alone represents a [[velar nasal]]. In Italian and French,  represents a [[palatal nasal]] . The Portuguese and Vietnamese spelling for this sound is , while [[Spanish|Spanish language]], [[Breton|Breton language]], and a few other languages use the letter . In English,  is generally silent when it is preceded by an  at the end of words, as in ''hymn''; however, it is pronounced in this combination when occurring word medially, as in ''hymnal''.

is the sixth most [[common letter|Letter frequency]] and the second-most commonly used [[consonant]] in the [[English language]] (after ).[ English Letter Frequency]

Other uses
In , the italic form n is a particularly common symbol for a variable quantity which represents an .

Related characters

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet
  • N with : Ń ń Ñ ñ Ň ň Ǹ ǹ Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ṉ ṉ Ṋ ṋ Ꞥ ꞥ ᵰ
  • Phonetic alphabet symbols related to N (the International Phonetic Alphabet only uses lowercase, but uppercase forms are used in some other writing systems):
    • Ŋ ŋ : Latin letter eng, which represents a in the IPA
    • Ɲ ɲ : Latin letter Ɲ, which represents a or an alveolo-palatal nasal in the IPA
    • ⁿ : Superscript small n, which represents a in the IPA
    • Ƞ ƞ : Latin letter Ƞ (encoded in Unicode as "N with long right leg"), a mostly obsolete letter used to transcribe various nasal sounds
    • ɳ : Latin letter n with a hook, which represents a in the IPA
    • ᶯ : Modifier letter small n with retroflex hook
    • ᶮ : Modifier letter small n with left hook
    • ɴ : Small capital N, which represents a in the IPA
    • ᶰ : Modifier letter small capital N
  • Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to N:
  • ₙ : Subscript small n was used in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet prior to its formal standardization in 1902
  • phonetic transcription system uses and
  • ȵ : N with curl is used in Sino-Tibetanist linguistics
  • Ꞑ ꞑ : N with descender

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets
  • 𐤍 : Semitic letter Nun, from which the following symbols originally derive
    • Ν ν : Greek letter Nu, from which the following symbols originally derive

Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

Computing codes

Other representations

External links
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