| Share
 

O

O, 15th letter of the alphabet. It is a usual symbol for a mid-back, rounded vowel, rather like the first part of oi. Such a vowel was represented by omicron [Gr., = little o ], its formal and positional correspondent in the Greek alphabet. English ō is a diphthong of ŏ and w. In chemistry O is the symbol of the element oxygen. In surnames O' is derived from the Irish patronymic system; e.g., O'Neill meant "grandson of Niall," probably referring originally to Niall Glundubh, high king of Ireland, 915–19 (see name).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Language and Linguistics


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research

Related content from HighBeam Research on: O

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring