alpha

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See also: alfa, Alpha, and alpha-

English[edit]

Ancient Greek Alphabet

beta
Α α
Ancient Greek: ἄλφα
Wikipedia article on alpha

Etymology[edit]

From the Ancient Greek ἄλφα (álpha), the first letter of the Greek alphabet, from the Phoenician𐤀(ʾ, aleph). Doublet of alif.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈælfə/, [ˈæɫ.fə]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ælfə

Noun[edit]

alpha (countable and uncountable, plural alphas)

  1. The name of the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Α,  α), followed by beta. In the Latin alphabet it is the predecessor to A.
  2. Latin alpha: the Latin letter (minuscule: ɑ).
  3. (sciences) The name of the symbols Α and α used in science and mathematics, often interchangeable with the symbols when used as a prefix.
    I will attempt to make an alpha particle ("α-particle") with the Large Hadron Collider.
  4. (finance) The return of a given asset or portfolio adjusted for systematic risk.
    Coordinate term: beta
    • 2001, Cheng-Few Lee, editor, Advances in Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management, volume 8, Elsevier, →ISBN, page 174:
      Similarly, alphas are 2.33% larger than that of the equivalent monthly alphas using compounded returns while no changes can be found using arithmetic returns.
    • 2011 July 18, John Cassidy, “Mastering the Machine”, in The New Yorker[1], →ISSN:
      To investment professionals, “alpha” is the return over and above the market return. If in a given year the S. & P. 500 returns fifteen per cent and an equity-fund manager generates a return of twenty per cent, his alpha is five per cent.
  5. A person, especially a male, who is dominant, successful and attractive; (see alpha male).
    • 2008, Faye Flam, The Score: How the Quest for Sex Has Shaped the Modern Man[2], Avery, published 2008, →ISBN:
      Being a beta male in a species with alphas doesn't mean you have to sit out the mating game.
    • 2008, Mitzi Szereto, editor, The New Black Lace Book of Women's Sexual Fantasies, Black Lace, →ISBN, page 38:
      I'm still turned on by alpha males. I think there are only a couple of other men that turn me on . . . ones that are clearly not alphas.
    • 2009, Martin G. Groder, Pat Webster, Winning at Love: The Alpha Male's Guide to Relationship Success[3], Bascom Hill Books, →ISBN, page ix:
      This book is primarily for alpha males, or “top dogs.” We'll talk more about that later; but let's just say that if you are a man and successful in the world of trade, business, or profession, most likely you are an alpha, or you have been trained to act like an alpha.
  6. (informal, abbreviation) Short for alphabet. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  7. (software engineering) The first versions of a program, usually only available to the developer, and only tested by the developer.
    • 2007, Mark Summerfield, Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt: The Definitive Guide to PyQt Programming[4], Pearson Education, →ISBN:
      We will assume you got the .tgz version—later 2.x series versions such as 2.5.2 or 2.6.0 should be okay, provided they are production releases (not alphas, betas, or release candidates).
  8. (aviation) Angle of attack.
    Coordinate terms: beta, gamma, theta
  9. (computer graphics) The level of translucency of a color, as determined by the alpha channel.
  10. (computer graphics) Ellipsis of alpha layer.
  11. (statistics) The significance level of a statistical test; the alpha level.
  12. (fandom slang) In omegaverse fiction, a person of a dominant secondary sex driven by biology, magic, or other means to bond with an omega, with males of this type often having canine-like genitalia.
    • 2013, Kristina Busse, “Pon Farr, Mpreg, Bonds, and the Rise of the Omegaverse”, in Anne Jamison, editor, Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, page 317:
      Sometimes the alphas and omegas are rare, sometimes they are only males, sometimes they have altered sex organs.
    • 2017, Marianne Gunderson, "What is an omega? Rewriting sex and gender in omegaverse fanfiction", thesis submitted to the University of Oslo, page 11:
      Sherlock realizes that John, despite being an alpha, sees and loves Sherlock for who he is, "a brilliant, mad, nutter of a man," instead of only wanting him for his reproductive functions, his ability to become pregnant.
    • 2018, Laura Campillo Arnaiz, “When the Omega Empath Met the Alpha Doctor: An Analysis of Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics in the Hannibal Fandom”, in Ashton Spacey, editor, The Darker Side of Slash Fan Fiction, page 130:
      Contrary to the typical scenario expected in a dark A/B/O story, in this story both Hannibal and Will are alphas—but Hannibal wants Will to be his omega; subservient and submissive to him only.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Adjective[edit]

alpha (not comparable)

  1. Designates the first in an order of precedence.
    I am the alpha male.
  2. (of person, object or action) Exhibiting characteristics of the alpha male/female archetype.
    • 2015, Life Is Strange, Square Enix:
      And thank you. Seriously. I'll call you later.
      You better. I'm feeling pretty alpha now.
      Yes, you are.
  3. (astronomy) Designates some bright star, usually the brightest star, of a constellation.
    When interstellar travel becomes feasible, I plan to visit Alpha Centauri.

Derived terms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

alpha m (plural alpha)

  1. alpha (Greek letter)

Further reading[edit]

Interlingua[edit]

Noun[edit]

alpha

  1. alpha

Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek ἄλφα (álpha).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

alpha n (indeclinable)

  1. alpha

References[edit]

  • alpha”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • alpha”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • alpha in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • alpha in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette