W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet.
W was invented in the 7th century by Anglo-Saxon writers, it was originally a double U (hence its English name, because the /w/ sound was spelled "uu"). The Latin /w/ sound developed into Romance /v/; therefore V no longer adequately represented Germanic /w/. In German - like in Romance - the phoneme /w/ was lost, this is why German W represents /v/ rather than /w/. In Dutch, W is an approximant (with the exception of words with EEUW, which have [-e:w]).
In the Swedish and Finnish alphabets, "W" is seen as a variant of "V" and not a separate letter. It is however recognised and maintained in names, like "William".
Whiskey represents the letter W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
W is also:
- the symbol for the chemical element tungsten, after its German name, Wolfram
- the symbol for the watt, the SI unit for power.
- in physics, the variable W for energy or work, measured in joules
- the American 1973 film, W
- in Unix, w is a basic command that displays information on users currently logged in
- the W Window System, a graphical windowing system for Unix platforms
- an American fashion magazine, W
- a nickname of American President George W. Bush, sometimes spelled out as "Dubya" (the President's name is sometimes written "George Double-U Bush")
Words beginning with the letter W, suitable for teaching children the alphabet