S, or s, is the nineteenth letter in the Latin alphabet, used in the modern English alphabet, the alphabets of other western European languages and others worldwide. Its name in English is ess (pronounced /ˈɛs/), plural esses.
The letter ⟨s⟩ is the seventh most common letter in English and the third-most common consonant after ⟨t⟩ and ⟨n⟩. It is the most common letter for the first letter of a word in the English language.
In English and several other languages, primarily Western Romance ones like Spanish and French, final ⟨s⟩ is the usual mark of plural nouns. It is the regular ending of English third person present tense verbs.
⟨s⟩ represents the voiceless alveolar or voiceless dental sibilant /s/ in most languages as well as in the International Phonetic Alphabet. It also commonly represents the voiced alveolar or voiced dental sibilant /z/, as in Portuguese mesa (table) or English 'rose' and 'bands', or it may represent the voiceless palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ], as in most Portuguese dialects when syllable-finally, in Hungarian, in German (before ⟨p⟩, ⟨t⟩) and some English words as 'sugar', since yod-coalescence became a dominant feature, and [ʒ], as in English 'measure' (also because of yod-coalescence), European Portuguese Islão (Islam) or, in many sociolects of Brazilian Portuguese, esdrúxulo (proparoxytone) in some Andalusian dialects, it merged with Peninsular Spanish ⟨c⟩ and ⟨z⟩ and is now pronounced [θ]. In some English words of French origin, the letter ⟨s⟩ is silent, as in 'isle' or 'debris'. In Turkmen, ⟨s⟩ represents [θ].
The ⟨sh⟩ digraph for English /ʃ/ arises in Middle English (alongside ⟨sch⟩), replacing the Old English ⟨sc⟩ digraph. Similarly, Old High German ⟨sc⟩ was replaced by ⟨sch⟩ in Early Modern High German orthography.
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