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This article is about the letter B. To see lists of usernames and bits of juicy speculation, you might want to go somewhere else.

The letter B is the second letter in the Latin alphabet. Its name in English is bee [bi].



The letter B probably started as a pictogram of the floorplan of a house in Egyptian hieroglyphs or the Proto-semitic alphabet.

Egyptian hieroglyph house Proto-Semitic house Phoenician beth Greek beta Etruscan Roman B

By 1500 BC, the Phoenician alphabet's letter had a linear form that served as the basis for all later, which appeared in both the angular and more rounded forms. Its name must have corresponded closely to the Hebrew beth.

When the Ancient Greeks adopted the alphabet, they changed its name to beta and turned the letter upside-down and later added a second loop. In earlier Greek inscriptions, the letter faces to the left, but in the Greek alphabet of later times it faces to the right, although there continued to be variations between pointed and rounded loops.

The Etruscans brought the Greek alphabet to what is now Italy and left the letter unchanged. The Romans later adopted the Etruscan alphabet to write Latin, and the resulting letter, with rounded loops, has been preserved in the modern Latin alphabet used to write many languages, including English.


The modern lowercase letter b derives from later Roman times, when scribes began omitting the upper loop of the capital.

Blackletter B Uncial B
Modern Roman B Modern Italic B Modern Script B

The letter B should not be confused with the visually similar German ß.


In English and most other languages that use the Latin alphabet, the letter b denotes the voiced bilabial plosive (IPA /b/), as in bib. In English it is sometimes "silent", as in debt or comb. In medial position in Spanish it denotes the voiced bilabial fricative (IPA /β/). In Estonian, Icelandic, and in Chinese transcription, B is not voiced, but is still contrasted to P, which is a geminate /pp/ in Estonian and an aspirate /ph/ in Chinese and Icelandic.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet and X-SAMPA, letter /b/ denotes the voiced bilabial plosive. Variants of the letter b denote related bilabial consonants, like the voiced bilabial implosive and the bilabial trill. In X-SAMPA, capital B denotes the voiced bilabial fricative.

Codes for computingEdit

Alternative representations of Mindspillage/B
NATO phonetic Morse code
Bravo –···
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

In Unicode the capital B is codepoint U+0042 and the lowercase b is U+0062.

The ASCII code for capital B is 66 and for lowercase b is 98; or in binary 01000010 and 01100010, correspondingly.

The EBCDIC code for capital B is 194 and for lowercase b is 130.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "B" and "b" for upper and lower case respectively.

Meanings for BEdit

  • B is also seen as the unlucky letter of alphabet, as it looks like an scratched together thirteen.

See alsoEdit