Ƶ (minuscule: ƶ) is a letter of the Latin alphabet, derived from Z with the addition of a stroke through the center.

Latin letter Ƶƶ

Use in alphabets edit

Ƶ is used in the latin version of the Karachay-Balkar alphabet to represent palatalization, with ь as the Cyrillic equivalent.

Ƶ was used in the Jaꞑalif alphabet (part of Uniform Turkic Alphabet) for the Tatar language in the first half of the 20th-century to represent a voiced postalveolar fricative [ʒ], now written j.

Ƶ was used in the 1992 Latin Chechen spelling as voiced postalveolar fricative [ʒ]. It was also used in a 1931 variant of the Karelian alphabet for the Tver dialect.

The 1931–1941 Mongolian Latin alphabet used Ƶ to represent [d͡ʒ].

It is used in Unifon, being the last letter representing the voiced alveolar fricative /z/.

It was also used in the Latin script for the Abkhaz language representing the voiced retroflex fricative.

Use in heraldry edit

Vertical form of the Wolfsangel hearaldic charge
Municipal arms of Oestrich-Winkel
Municipal arms of Marpingen
Municipal arms of Eppelborn

The Ƶ character is similar to the vertical form of the Wolfsangel (or "wolf trap") heraldic charge from medieval Germany and eastern France.

The Wolfsangel symbol was an early 15th-century symbol of Germanic liberty and freedom that also appears as a mason's mark and was also used as a German medieval forestry boundary marker.[1] The Wolfsangel symbol uses the reversed (mostly, but not exclusively) Ƶ character in both horizontal and vertical forms, and in heraldry, the vertical form is associated with a Donnerkeil (or "thunderbolt").[2]

Appropriation by Nazis edit

In World War 2, the Wolfsangel symbol was appropriated into Nazi symbolism by both military and non-military groups and now remains listed as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League database.[1][3] In 2020, a trend started of Generation Z users of TikTok tattooing a "Generation Ƶ" symbol on their arm as "a symbol of unity in our generation but also as a sign of rebellion" (in the manner of the 15th-century Germanic peasant's revolts), however, the originator of the trend renounced it when the appropriation of the symbol by the Nazis was brought to her attention.[4]

Use in Ukraine edit

Far-right movements in Ukraine like the former Social-National Assembly and the Azov Battalion have used a 90-degree rotated Ƶ symbol with an elongated center stroke for the political slogan Ідея Нації (Ukrainian for "National Idea", where the symbol is a composite of the "N" and the "I"); they deny any connection with Nazism, or with the Wolfsangel symbol.[5][6]

Allographic variant of Z and Ż edit

Many people often use Ƶ as a handwritten variant of Z and z, especially with mathematicians, scientists, and engineers to avoid confusion with the numeral 2. [7][8]

Ƶ on Polish Straż Miejska badge, general pattern
Ƶ in the city sign to Wólka Żabna

In Polish, the character Ƶ is used as an allographic variant of the letter Ż although once used in Old Polish.

In Greek, the character Ƶ is a handwritten form of the letter Xi (ξ), where the horizontal stroke distinguishes it from Zeta, ζ.

Use as a currency symbol edit

Ƶ was sometimes used instead of Z to represent the zaire, a former currency of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In video games, Ƶ has been used as a fictional currency symbol, particularly in Japanese games where it can stand for zeni (a Japanese word for money). The Dragon Ball franchise, as well as Capcom games, use Ƶ in this way. It can also be found in the games EVE Online and Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, where it stands for, respectively, the "Interstellar Kredit" (ISK) and the "Osean Zollar".

Use in modern runic writing edit

Armanen runes and the 18th Gibor rune based on Ƶ

A 45-degree rotated Ƶ forms the basis of the Gibor rune, which is a pseudo-rune (i.e. not an actual ancient rune) invented in 1902 by the 19th-century Austrian mysticist and Germanic revivalist Guido von List, and features prominently in modern runic writing.

Use in computers edit

The Unicode standard specifies two codepoints:


See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ahmed, Akbar (February 2018). Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Identity. Brookings Institution. p. 77. ISBN 9780815727583.
  2. ^ Yenne, Bill (October 2010). Hitler's Master of the Dark Arts: Himmler's Black Knights and the Occult Origins of the SS. Zenith Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0760337783.
  3. ^ "Wolfsangel: General Hate Symbols, Neo-Nazi Symbols". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  4. ^ Greenspan, Rachel (22 September 2020). "TikTok users recommended a Nazi symbol as a Gen Z tattoo idea to represent 'rebellion'". Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Profile: Who are Ukraine's far-right Azov regiment?". Al Jazeera. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  6. ^ Schipani, Andres (29 March 2022). "'Don't confuse patriotism and Nazism': Ukraine's Azov forces face scrutiny". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Handwriting alphabet at DuckDuckGo".
  8. ^ "English Cursive Letters JPG file".

External links edit