A A (named [=a] in the English, and most commonly ["a] in other languages). The first letter of the English and of many other alphabets. The capital A of the alphabets of Middle and Western Europe, as also the small letter (a), besides the forms in Italic, black letter, etc., are all descended from the old Latin A, which was borrowed from the Greek {Alpha}, of the same form; and this was made from the first letter (?) of the Ph[oe]nician alphabet, the equivalent of the Hebrew Aleph, and itself from the Egyptian origin. The Aleph was a consonant letter, with a guttural breath sound that was not an element of Greek articulation; and the Greeks took it to represent their vowel Alpha with the ["a] sound, the Ph[oe]nician alphabet having no vowel symbols. [1913 Webster] This letter, in English, is used for several different vowel sounds. See Guide to pronunciation, [sect][sect] 43-74. The regular long a, as in fate, etc., is a comparatively modern sound, and has taken the place of what, till about the early part of the 17th century, was a sound of the quality of ["a] (as in far). [1913 Webster]

2. (Mus.) The name of the sixth tone in the model major scale (that in C), or the first tone of the minor scale, which is named after it the scale in A minor. The second string of the violin is tuned to the A in the treble staff. -- A sharp (A[sharp]) is the name of a musical tone intermediate between A and B. -- A flat (A[flat]) is the name of a tone intermediate between A and G. [1913 Webster]

{A per se} (L. per se by itself), one pre["e]minent; a nonesuch. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

O fair Creseide, the flower and A per se Of Troy and Greece. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • alpha — alpha …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Alpha — may refer to:The Greek letter alphaAlpha (letter), a letter in the Greek alphabet. α may be used as the symbol for: *Alpha channel, describing transparency and opacity in computer graphics *Angle of attack in aerodynamics *Common base current… …   Wikipedia

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  • Alpha — Alpha, NJ U.S. borough in New Jersey Population (2000): 2482 Housing Units (2000): 1034 Land area (2000): 1.697667 sq. miles (4.396936 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.038457 sq. miles (0.099604 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.736124 sq. miles (4.496540 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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  • Alpha — Al pha, n. [L. alpha, Gr. a lfa, from Heb. [=a]leph, name of the first letter in the alphabet, also meaning ox.] The first letter in the Greek alphabet, answering to A, and hence used to denote the beginning. [1913 Webster] In am Alpha and Omega …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alpha — c.1300, from L. alpha, from Gk. alpha, from Hebrew or Phoenician aleph (see ALEPH (Cf. aleph)). The Greeks added a because Greek words cannot end in most consonants. Sense of beginning of anything is from late 14c., often paired with omega (last… …   Etymology dictionary

  • alpha- — ❖ ♦ Élément de noms de chimie (⇒ Alpha) servant à indiquer, dans la formule d un composé organique, un premier groupement contigu à un autre (alphanaphtol, alpha sulfonate) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • alpha — ► NOUN 1) the first letter of the Greek alphabet (A, ), transliterated as ‘a’. 2) Brit. a first class mark given for a piece of work. ● alpha and omega Cf. ↑alpha and omega ORIGIN Greek …   English terms dictionary

  • alpha — [al′fə] n. [Gr < NW Sem: cf. Heb alef, ALEPH] 1. the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Α, α) 2. the beginning of anything 3. [A ] Astron. the name assigned to the brightest star in each constellation: followed by the constellation s name in… …   English World dictionary

  • alpha — ALPHA. s. m. La première lettre de l alphabet grec; au figuré, Commencement, premier. L alpha et l omega, pour dire, Le commencement et la fin …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

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