Eth (/ɛð/ edh, uppercase: Ð, lowercase: ð; also spelled edh or ), known as ðæt in Old English,[1] is a letter used in Old English, Middle English, Icelandic, Faroese (in which it is called edd), and Elfdalian.

Ð ð
Writing cursive forms of Ð
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabetic and logographic
Language of originOld English
Old Norse
Phonetic usage[ð]
Unicode codepointU+00D0, U+00F0
Time period~800 to present
Transliteration equivalentsd
Other letters commonly used withth, dh
Writing directionLeft-to-Right
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
Lower case and upper case of Eth (⟨Ð⟩, ⟨ð⟩ expressed by a sans serif single-stroke-width font and a serif variable-stroke-width font
Eth in Arial and Times New Roman

It was also used in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages, but was subsequently replaced with dh, and later d.

It is often transliterated as ⟨d⟩.

The lowercase version has been adopted to represent a voiced dental fricative in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Old English


In Old English, ⟨ð⟩ (called ðæt) was used interchangeably with þ to represent the Old English dental fricative phoneme /θ/ or its allophone /ð/, which exist in modern English phonology as the voiceless and voiced dental fricatives both now spelled th.

Unlike the runic letter þ, ⟨ð⟩ is a modified Roman letter. Neither ⟨ð⟩ nor ⟨þ⟩ was found in the earliest records of Old English. A study of Mercian royal diplomas found that ⟨ð⟩ (along with đ) began to emerge in the early 8th century, with ⟨ð⟩ becoming strongly preferred by the 780s.[2] Another source indicates that the letter is "derived from Irish writing".[3]

Under the reign of King Alfred the Great, ⟨þ⟩ grew greatly in popularity and started to overtake ⟨ð⟩, and completely overtook it by Middle English. However, ⟨þ⟩ in turn died out by Early Modern English, mostly due to the rise of the printing press,[4] and was replaced by the digraph th.


A sample of Icelandic handwriting with some instances of lowercase ð clearly visible: in the words Borðum, við and niður. Also visible is a thorn in the word því.

In Icelandic, ⟨ð⟩, called "eð", represents an alveolar non-sibilant fricative, voiced [ð̠] intervocalically and word-finally, and voiceless [θ̠] otherwise, which form one phoneme, /θ/. Generally, /θ/ is represented by thorn ⟨Þ⟩ at the beginning of words and by ⟨ð⟩ elsewhere. The ⟨ð⟩ in the name of the letter is devoiced in the nominative and accusative cases: [ɛθ̠]. In the Icelandic alphabet, ⟨ð⟩ follows ⟨d⟩.



In Faroese, ⟨ð⟩ is not assigned to any particular phoneme and appears mostly for etymological reasons, but it indicates most glides. When ⟨ð⟩ appears before ⟨r⟩, it is in a few words pronounced [ɡ]. In the Faroese alphabet, ⟨ð⟩ follows ⟨d⟩.



In Olav Jakobsen Høyem's version of Nynorsk based on Trøndersk, ⟨ð⟩ was always silent, and was introduced for etymological reasons.



⟨Ð⟩ has also been used by some in written Welsh to represent /ð/, which is normally represented as dd.[5]



⟨Ð⟩ is sometimes used in Khmer romanization to represent thô.

Phonetic transcription


Computer encoding


Upper and lower case forms of eth have Unicode encodings:


These Unicode codepoints were inherited from ISO/IEC 8859-1 ("ISO Latin-1") encoding.

Modern uses


See also

  • African D – Variant of the Latin letter D used in African alphabets
  • D
  • D with stroke – Variant of the letter D, used in Sámi alphabets, Serbo-Croatian Latin alphabet, and Vietnamese
  • Insular script – Medieval writing system common to Ireland and England
  • T
  • Thorn – Letter of Old English and some Scandinavian languages


  1. ^ Marsden, Richard (2004). The Cambridge Old English Reader. Cambridge University Press. p. xxix.
  2. ^ Shaw, Philip (2013). "Adapting the Roman alphabet for writing Old English: evidence from coin epigraphy and single-sheet charters". Early Medieval Europe. 21 (2): 115–139. doi:10.1111/emed.12012. S2CID 163075636.
  3. ^ Freeborn, Dennis (1992). From Old English to Standard English. London: Macmillan. p. 24. ISBN 9780776604695.
  4. ^ Hill, Will (30 June 2020). "Chapter 25: Typography and the printed English text" (PDF). The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System. p. 6. ISBN 9780367581565. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2022. Retrieved 7 July 2022. The types used by Caxton and his contemporaries originated in Holland and Belgium, and did not provide for the continuing use of elements of the Old English alphabet such as thorn <þ>, eth <ð>, and yogh <ʒ>. The substitution of visually similar typographic forms has led to some anomalies which persist to this day in the reprinting of archaic texts and the spelling of regional words. The widely misunderstood 'ye' occurs through a habit of printer's usage that originates in Caxton's time, when printers would substitute the <y> (often accompanied by a superscript <e>) in place of the thorn <þ> or the eth <ð>, both of which were used to denote both the voiced and non-voiced sounds, /ð/ and /θ/ (Anderson, D. (1969) The Art of Written Forms. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p 169)
  5. ^ Testament Newydd (1567) [The 1567 New Testament], archived from the original on 2012-01-29, retrieved 2011-01-30.
  6. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  7. ^ Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).

Further reading