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The Cyrillic letter Ef was derived from the Greek letter Phi (Φ φ). It merged with an eliminated letter Fita (Ѳ) in the Russian alphabet in 1918.

The name of Ef in the Early Cyrillic alphabet is фрьтъ (fr̥tŭ or frĭtŭ), in later Church Slavonic and Russian form it became ферmъ (fert).

In the Cyrillic numeral system, Ef has a value of 500. There is only an acute accent, Ф´ ф´, over the letter Ф.


The Slavic languages have almost no native words containing /f/, Ф found in Proto-Indo-European (PIE). It arose in Greek and Latin from PIE *bʰ (which yielded Slavic /b/). In some instances in Latin, it represented historical th-fronting and derived from Proto-Indo-European *dʰ, and in the Germanic languages from PIE *p, which remained unchanged in Slavic. The letter ф is thus almost exclusively found in words of foreign origin, especially Greek (from φ and sometimes from θ), Latin, French, German, Dutch, English, and Turkic.

Example borrowings in Russian:

  • from Greek: катастрофа, "catastrophe" (from φ); Фёдор, "Theodore" (from θ)
  • from Latin: федерация, "federation"; эффект, "effect"
  • from German: картофель, "potato" (from Kartoffel); фунт, "pound" (from Pfund)
  • from Dutch: флаг, "flag"

The few native Slavic words with this letter (in different languages) are examples of onomatopoeia (like Russian verbs фукать, фыркать etc.) or reflect sporadic pronunciation shifts:

  • from пв /pv/: Serbian уфати 'to hope' (cf. Church Slavonic уповати 'to hope')
  • from хв /xv/: Macedonian сфати '(he) understands' (cf. Church Slavonic схватити 'to take, to catch'), Russian дрофа 'bustard' (cf. Ukrainian дрохва 'bustard')
  • from х /x/: Russian toponym Фили 'Fili' (from хилый 'sickly')

Slavic languagesEdit

Ef is the 21st letter of the Bulgarian alphabet; the 22nd letter of the Russian alphabet; 23rd letter of the Belarusian alphabet; the 25th letter of the Serbian and Ukrainian alphabet; and the 26th letter of the Macedonian alphabet. It represents the consonant /f/ unless it is before a palatalizing vowel, when it represents /fʲ/.

Related letters and other similar charactersEdit

Computing codesEdit

Character Ф ф
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1060 U+0424 1092 U+0444
UTF-8 208 164 D0 A4 209 132 D1 84
Numeric character reference Ф Ф ф ф
KOI8-R and KOI8-U 230 E6 198 C6
Code page 855 171 AB 170 AA
Code page 866 148 94 228 E4
Windows-1251 212 D4 244 F4
ISO-8859-5 196 C4 228 E4
Macintosh Cyrillic 148 94 244 F4

External linksEdit

  •   The dictionary definition of Ф at Wiktionary
  •   The dictionary definition of ф at Wiktionary