Appendix:English alphabet

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Main category: English letters

The English language uses the twenty-six Latin script basic letters:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.


Certain classes of words are, or were formerly, written with diacritics. One such class is certain words borrowed from other languages, including the words café, façade, Führer and naïve.

Another class uses diaeresis to indicate in a pairing of identical vowels that the second vowel is to be pronounced separately from the first. In this case, the second vowel is either pronounced differently, as in reëxamine, or just pronounced separately with a slight hiatus or y sound, as in reëlect.


This list of words that may be spelled with a ligature in English encompasses words which have letters that may, in modern usage, either be rendered as two distinct letters or as a single, combined letter. This includes AE being rendered as Æ (an æsc or ash) and OE being rendered as Œ (an œthel). Note that when a c is before a ligature, it makes the sound /s/ rather than /k/ as might be expected (because it has the pronunciation of e).

The use of the œ and æ is obsolescent in modern English, and has been used predominantly in British English. It is usually used to evoke archaism, or in literal quotations of historic sources.

The fl and fi ligatures, among others, are still commonly used to render modern text in fine typography. Programs such as QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign can be configured to automatically replace the individual characters with the appropriate ligatures.


Note that some words contain an ae which may not be written æ because the etymology is not from the Greek -αι- or Latin -ae- diphthongs. These include:

  • In instances of aer (starting or within a word) where it comes from the Latin āēr (air), from Greek ἀήρ (aḗr), e.g. aerial, aeroplane.
  • When ae is found in a word that comes from some other language other than Latin or Greek, e.g. Gaelic, laendler.
Non-ligature form Ligature form Other forms Etymology
aeciospore æciospore combination of New Latin aecium and New Latin spora→spore (acium+spore)
aecidium æcidium (aecium) New Latin aecidium, from Greek αἰκῐ́ᾱ (aikíā)
aecium æcium (aecidium) New Latin aecidium, from Greek αἰκῐ́ᾱ (aikíā)
aedicule ædicule edicule (American English) Latin aedicula
aegis Ægis Egis (American English) Greek αἰγῐ́ς (aigís)
Aeolian Æolian Eolian (American English) Greek Αἰολίς (Aiolís)
Aeolis Æolis Greek Αἰολίς (Aiolís)
aeon æon eon (American English) Greek αἰών (aiṓn).
aerose Ærose Latin aerōsus, from aes
aerugite ærugite (aerugo) Latin aerūgō, from aes
aerugo ærugo (aerugite) Latin aerūgō, from aes
aeschynite æschynite eschynite (American English) Greek αἰσχῡ́νω (aiskhū́nō)
aesculin æsculin esculin (American English) Latin aesculīnus
aesculetin æsculetin esculetin (American English) Latin aesculētum
aesthetic æsthetic esthetic (American English) Ancient Greek αἰσθητῐκός (aisthētikós)
aestival æstival estival (American English) Latin aestīvālis
aestivation æstivation estivation (American English) Latin aestīvō
Aether Æther ether (American English) Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr)
aethereal æthereal or ætherial ethereal (American English), etherial (American English - rare), aetherial (British English - rare) Greek αἰθέρῐος (aithérios)
aethrioscope Æthrioscope Ethrioscope Greek αἴθριος (aíthrios)
aetiology ætiology etiology (American English) Greek αἰτιολογίᾱ (aitiologíā)
algae algæ algas (very rare) Latin algae
ambilevous ambilævous From Latin ambi- (both) + laevus (left), a calque of Greek ἀμφᾰρίστερος (ampharísteros)
anaemia anæmia anemia (AmE) Greek ᾰ̓ναιμίᾱ (anaimíā)
anaesthesia anæsthesia anesthesia (British English) Greek ᾰ̓ναισθησίᾱ (anaisthēsíā)
antennae antennæ antennas Latin antennae
archaeology archæology archeology (American English) Greek ἀρχαιολογίᾱ (arkhaiologíā)
Athenaeum Athenæum Atheneum (American English) Greek Ἀθήναιον (Athḗnaion)
azotaemia azotæmia azotemia (American English)
bacteraemia bacteræmia bacteremia (American English) Greek βακτήρῐον (baktḗrion) + αἷμᾰ (haîma)
Caesar Cæsar Cesar (American English – rare) Latin Caesar
caesium cæsium cesium (American English) Latin caesium
chaetophorous chætophorous chetophorous Greek χαίτη (khaítē) + φορός (phorós)
curriculum vitae curriculum vitæ Latin curriculum vītae
daedal dædal dedal Greek δαίδαλος (daídalos)
daemon dæmon demon (American English) Greek δαίμων (daímōn)
Egypt Ægypt Aegypt (Archaic) Greek Αἴγυπτος (Aíguptos)
encyclopaedia encyclopædia encyclopedia (American English)
era æra aera (British English - rare) Late Latin aera, probably from Latin aes
et cetera et cætera et caetera, etc., &c. Latin phrase
Ethiopia Æthiopia Aethiopia Greek Αἰθιοπίᾱ (Aithiopíā)
Eudaemonic eudæmonic eudemonic
faeces fæces feces (American English) Latin faex
fairy færie faerie
formulae formulæ formulas
fraenum frænum Frenum
Gaea Gæa Gaia
haemoglobin hæmoglobin hemoglobin (American English)
haemolysis hæmolysis hemolysis (American English)
haemophilia hæmophilia hemophilia (American English)
haemorrhage hæmorrhage hemorrhage (American English)
haemorrhoid hæmorrhoid hemorrhoid (American English)
hyena hyæna hyaena
hypaethral hypæthral hypethral
ischaemia ischæmia ischemia (American English)
judaeo judæo judeo
judaeophobe judæophobe judeophobe (American English)
leukaemia leukæmia leukemia (American English)
medieval mediæval mediaeval (British English – rare)
nebulae nebulæ nebulas Latin nebula
nymphae nymphæ nymphs
nymphaea nymphæa
orthopaedic orthopædic orthopedic (American English)
paean pæan pean (American English)
paeon pæon
pedagogue pædagogue or pædagog pedagog (American English), (paedagogue and paedagog exist but are both somewhat archaic)
pederasty pæderasty paederasty
paediatrics pædiatrics pediatrics (American English)
paediatrician pædiatrician pediatrician (American English)
paediatrist pædiatrist pediatrist (American English)
paedophile pædophile pedophile (American English)
palaeobotany palæobotany paleobotany (American English)
palaeocene palæocene paleocene (American English)
palaeoclimatology palæoclimatology paleoclimatology (American English)
palaeography palæography palaeography (American English)
palaeolithic palæolithic paleolithic (American English)
palaeography palæography paleography (American English)
palaeontology palæontology paleontology (American English)
palaeozoic palæozoic paleozoic (American English)
Panacaea Panacæa Panacea (American English)
Pangaea Pangæa Pangea (American English)
personae personæ personas
premium præmium praemium
primeval primæval primaeval (British English - rare)
Quaestor Quæstor
Rhaetia Rhætia
septicaemia septicæmia septicemia (American English)
scarabaeid scarabæid
scarabaeoid scarabæoid
synaesthesia synæsthesia synesthesia (American English)
toxaemia toxæmia toxemia (American English)
uraemia uræmia uremia (American English)
viraemia viræmia viremia (American English)


Common form Ligature form Other forms Etymology
amenorrhoea amenorrhœa amenorrhea (American English)
amoeba amœba ameba (American English—rare) Greek ἀμοιβή (amoibḗ)
apnea apnœa apnoea (British English) Greek ἄπνοιᾰ (ápnoia)
coeliac cœliac celiac (American English) Greek κοιλιακός (koiliakós)
diarrhea diarrhœa diarrhoea (British English) Greek δῐᾰ́ρροιᾰ (diárrhoia)
ecology œcology oecology
economy œconomy oeconomy
ecumenism œcumenism oecumenism, rarely ocumenism
esophagus œsophagus oesophagus (British English)
estrogen œstrogen oestrogen (British English)
estrus œstrus oestrus
federal fœderal foederal (archaic; thus virtually never found) Latin foederō
fetid fœtid foetid (British English) Latin foetidus
fetor fœtor foetor (British English) Latin foetor
fetus fœtus foetus (British English) Latin foetus
gonorrhoea gonorrhœa gonorrhea (American English) Greek γονόρροιᾰ (gonórrhoia)
homeomorphism homœomorphism homoeomorphism (British English) Greek ὁμοιόμορφος (homoiómorphos)
homeopath homœopath homoeopath (British English) Greek ὁμοιοπᾰθής (homoiopathḗs)
homeostasis homœostasis homoeostasis (British English) Greek ὅμοιος (hómoios) + στᾰ́σῐς (stásis)
homoeozoic homœozoic homeozoic (American English—rare) Greek ὅμοιος (hómoios) + ζωϊκός (zōïkós)
hors d'oeuvre hors d'œuvre French hors d'œuvre
logorrhoea logorrhœa logorrhea (American English)
maneuver manœuvre manoeuvre (British English) French manœuvre, from Old French maneuvre, from Medieval Latin manuopera, from Latin manū operārī
Economics œconomics oeconomics
oedema œdema edema (American English)
Oedipus Œdipus Oidipus (rare), Ødipus Greek Οἰδῐ́πους (Oidípous)
oeillade œillade
oenology œnology oenology, rarely enology (American English) Greek οἰνολογίᾱ (oinologíā)
oenomel œnomel
oenothera œnothera
oeuvre œuvre French œuvre, from Old French uevre, from Latin opera
onomatopoeia onomatopœia
penology pœnology
phoenix phœnix phenix (rare)
subpoena subpœna subpena (rare)
tragedy tragœdy tragoedy


  1. ^ ^ ^ The variants that change '-æ' or '-œ' to '-s' are not variants in spelling, but the same meaning of the word with a different way of forming plurals.
  2. ^ "caesium" (see article) is preferred by the IUPAC.

Also, ligatures may be used in personal names as well, ie. Maecenus as Mæcenus, or Bartholomaeus as Bartholomæus, etc.

See also[edit]