Basic Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd    
Ee Ff Gg Hh
Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn
Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt
Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

N (play /ˈɛn/; named en)[1] is the fourteenth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.


History of the forms

One of the most common hieroglyphs, snake, was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like English ⟨J⟩, because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet. It is speculated that Semitic people working in Egypt adapted hieroglyphics to create the first alphabet, and that they used the same snake symbol to represent N, because their word for "snake" may have begun with that sound. However, the name for the letter in the Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic alphabets is nun, which means "fish" in some of these languages. The sound value of the letter was /n/—as in Greek, Etruscan, Latin and all modern languages.

Egyptian hieroglyph for 'J' Phoenician N Etruscan N Greek Nu
PhoenicianN-01.svg EtruscanN-01.svg Nu uc lc.svg



Dental or alveolar nasal in virtually all languages that use the Latin alphabet. A common digraph with ⟨n⟩ is ⟨ng⟩, which represents a velar nasal in a variety of languages, usually positioned word-finally in English. Often, before a velar plosive (as in ink or jungle), ⟨n⟩ alone represents a velar nasal. In languages like Italian and French, ⟨gn⟩ represents a palatal nasal (/ɲ/). The Portuguese spelling for this sound is ⟨nh⟩ (while Spanish and a few other languages use the letter ⟨ñ⟩). In English, ⟨n⟩ is generally silent when it is preceded by an ⟨m⟩ at the end of words, as in hymn; however, ⟨n⟩ is pronounced in this combination when occurring word medially, as in hymnal.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the lowercase [n] represents the alveolar nasal sound. A small capital [ɴ] represents the uvular nasal.

⟨n⟩ is the sixth most common letter and the second-most commonly used consonant in the English language (after ⟨t⟩).


In mathematics, the italic form (n) is the common symbol for a variable quantity, especially one which represents an integer.

\mathbb{N} is often used to refer to the set of natural numbers.

Related letters and other similar characters

Computing codes

character N n
character encoding decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 78 004E 110 006E
UTF-8 78 4E 110 6E
Numeric character reference N N n n
EBCDIC family 213 D5 149 95
ASCII 1 78 4E 110 6E

1 and all encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations


  1. ^ "N" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "en," op. cit.

External links

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter N with diacritics
Ńń Ǹǹ Ňň Ññ Ṅṅ Ņņ Ṇṇ Ṋṋ Ṉṉ N̈n̈ Ɲɲ Ƞƞ Ŋŋ Ꞑꞑ ɳ ȵ

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