|Cyrillic letter Dze|
|Cyrillic numerals: 6|
|List of Cyrillic letters|
It is derived from the letter dzelo or zelo of the Early Cyrillic alphabet, used historically for Old Church Slavonic, Ukrainian, Russian, and Romanian, and in the modern Macedonian language as well as the modern Montenegrin language. The most common early letterform ⟨Ѕ ѕ⟩ resembles the Latin letter S ⟨S s⟩, but it is also seen reversed (ꙅ) like the Latin letter Reversed S ⟨Ƨ ƨ⟩, or with a tail and a tick (ꙃ).
The letter is descended from dzělo () in the Early Cyrillic alphabet, where it had the numerical value 6. The letter Dzělo was itself based on the letter Dzelo in the Glagolitic alphabet. In the Glagolitic alphabet, it was written ⟨Ⰷ⟩, and had the numerical value of 8. In Old Church Slavonic it was called "ѕѣло" (pronounced dzeló), and in Church Slavonic it is called "ѕѣлѡ" (pronounced zeló).
The origin of Glagolitic letter dzelo is unclear, however, the Cyrillic Ѕ is probably derived in some way from the Greek ⟨Ϛ⟩ (stigma), which had the same numerical value (6), although had a different pronunciation (/st/ in Greek, /dz/ in Slavic). Thus the homoglyphic traits of the Cyrillic ⟨Ѕ⟩ and Latin ⟨S⟩ are largely coincidental, although the letters are distantly related: the Latin letter originates directly from the Greek sigma (Σ), whereas the Cyrillic letter originates from the pair of letters Στ (upper case) στ (lower case).
The initial sound of ⟨Ѕ⟩ in Old Church Slavonic was a soft /dz/ or /z/, which often corresponds in cognates to a /ɡ/ sound in modern Russian, as in мъноѕи (Russian: мъногъ), по ноѕѣ (Russian: нога), and растрьѕати (Russian: растръгати). However, already in the Old Slavic period the difference between ⟨Ѕ⟩ and ⟨З⟩ began to be blurred, and in the written Church Slavonic language from the middle of the 17th century ⟨Ѕ⟩ was used only formally. The letter's distinguishing features from ⟨З⟩ are
- ⟨Ѕ⟩ is used in root derived from these seven words beginning with ⟨Ѕ⟩: ѕвѣзда, ѕвѣрь, ѕеліе, ѕлакъ, ѕлый, ѕмій, ѕѣлѡ;
- ⟨З⟩ is used in all remaining cases.
- ⟨Ѕ⟩ has the numerical value of 6, whereas ⟨З⟩ has the numerical value of 7;
In the initial version of Russian civil script of Tsar Peter I (1708), the ⟨Ѕ⟩ was assigned the sound /z/, and the letter ⟨З⟩ was abolished. However, in the second version of the civil script (1710), ⟨З⟩ was restored, and ⟨Ѕ⟩ was abolished. Both versions of alphabet were used until 1735, which is considered the date of the final elimination of ⟨Ѕ⟩ in Russian.
- See also Reforms of Russian orthography.
⟨Ѕ⟩ was used in the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet (where it represented /dz/) until the alphabet was abolished in favor of a Latin-based alphabet in 1860-62. ⟨Ѕ⟩ was also used—albeit rarely—to the middle of the 19th century in the Serbian civil script, whose orthography was closer to Church Slavonic (compared to Russian). Vuk Karadžić's Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (1868) did not include ⟨Ѕ⟩, instead favoring the digraph ⟨ДЗ⟩ to represent /dz/.
⟨Ѕ⟩ is now only used in the Macedonian alphabet. A commission formed to standardize the Macedonian language and orthography decided on December 4, 1944—after a vote of 10-1—to adopt the letter. The letter represents /dz/ (examples including: ѕид/dzid, 'wall' and ѕвезда/dzvezda, 'star'). The corresponding sound is used in all dialects of Macedonian.
⟨Ѕ⟩ is also included on the standard Serbian Cyrillic keyboard, although it is not used in the Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet. The Serbian keyboard in Ubuntu replaces Ѕ with a second Ж.
 Related letters and other similar characters
 Computing codes
|Unicode name||CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER DZE||CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER DZE|
|UTF-8||208 133||D0 85||209 149||D1 95|
|Numeric character reference||Ѕ||Ѕ||ѕ||ѕ|
|Code page 855||137||89||136||88|
 See also
- Glagolitic alphabet
- Early Cyrillic alphabet
- Cyrillic script
- Russian alphabet
- Reforms of Russian orthography
- Romanian Cyrillic alphabet
- Macedonian alphabet
- Gamanovich, Alypy (1964), Грамматика Церковно-Славянскаго Языка (Grammar of the Church Slavonic Language), Jordanville, New York: Printing shop of St. Job of Pochaev, Holy Trinity Monastery (published 1984), ISBN 978-0-88465-064-5
- The dictionary definition of Ѕ at Wiktionary
- The dictionary definition of ѕ at Wiktionary
- A Berdnikov and O Lapko, "Old Slavonic and Church Slavonic in TEX and Unicode", EuroTEX ’99 Proceedings, September 1999 (PDF)
- 18th century Macedonian fresco depicting Church Slavonic alphabet