Talk:Long s

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Risks in reCAPTCHA[edit]

There can be some humorous examples of the Long S creating some inadvertent mischief with reCAPTCHA - There is an example here.

Macintoſh Keyboard[edit]

"On the Apple Macintoſh operating ſyſtem it can by typed by preſſıng the [Option] key then typing B or b."

This ſeems to be wrong. Option-b brings up the integral ſymbol, not the long s. – 12:42, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
That is the medial S... 03:42, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
No, it's not. They are different characters in Unicode.--Prosfilaes 21:40, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
You mean preſsing..? ;) --Thorri 14:50, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Nope. Preſſing is correct. Angr/talk 15:59, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Correct by what ſtandard? I've ſeen both in works publiſhed in pre-1800 Engliſh.--Prosfilaes 21:40, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I thought it was "preßing" Isn't the "ß" a compound "ſs"? --mordicai. 01:31, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
The ß is a compound "ſs" like w is a compound vv (or uu). They may have originated as such a compound, but they are currently independent characters. If the font style in which you use an English long-s requires a ſs ligature, it should be provided for in the font just like an fi ligature, or an st ligature, or a ct ligature, would.--Prosfilaes 18:20, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Word compounds[edit]

It is important to note that many languages, eſpecially Germanic ones, make words by compounding ſhorter words and word fragments. When word a made is made from a part ending in s followed by another part, the compound word ſhould ſtill be written with a final s even though it is now inſıde a word. The correct uſe of long verſus ſhort s can make the ſtructure clearer, and ſometimes remove ambiguity. Therefore, I find the external article linked to extremely uninformative and poorly reſearched.

Why not name this page %c5%bf ?[edit]

I am confuſed as to why this page is named Long_s, and the page named ſ is the ſame as S. Shouldn't this page be renamed %c5%bf aka ſ, the connection between that name and S be removed? I gueſs maybe I juſt don't underſtand how wikimedia naming works.

cscibri 5 July 2005 22:14 (UTC)
The problem is that ſ is juſt a variant form of s. Hence its capital is ſımply 'S'. Since the Wikipedia forces all articles to ſtart with a capital, there is no way to have this article reſıde at ſ. Jordi· 5 July 2005 22:24 (UTC)
I ſee... thanks for clearing that up. -- cscibri 6 July 2005 21:24 (UTC)
Yeſ, it ſhould be named that. I'll juſt change the redirect.-Monkey 13!!! 00:47, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I can't. -Monkey 13!!! 00:47, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
See my poſt above. The capital for ſ is ſimply S, and all articles muſt ſtart with a capital in the Wiki. -- Jordi· 07:54, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Why're you guys talkin with such lifps? (talk) 15:29, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Other Queſtions[edit]

Why did the ſ fall into diſuſe? Hopefully this article might be improved with more elaboration. --Locarno 17:10, 30 Auguſt 2005 (UTC)

What do you mean? It has not fallen into diſuſe at all!-- 01:22, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
If you need help on this queſtion, you could ſubmit it to The LINGUIST Liſt. I have found this ſıte quite helpful in anſwering linguiſtic queſtions.

This page is BJAODN candidate material... 22:21, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

IPA "sh" sound[edit]

Am I the only one that thinkſ that thiſ lookſ like the IPA "sh" sound?Cameron Nedland 15:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Just to tell you, you were using ſ in the wrong place. It should never be used at the end of a word, only in the middle or at the start Sotakeit 16:51, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Not true. ſaintlinſ useſ ſ at the beginning and the end. —MEſEDROCKER (talk) 20:07, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
      • What is ſaintlinſ? A word like uſes will use the normal s at the end of the word in every book I've ſeen printed with the long-s, which is probably approaching a hundred books.--Prosfilaes 05:33, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Is this funny??[edit]

I think this talk page looks funny! The Wikipedians who put meſſages on this talk page appear to want to use the long s in all their meſſages. Any other funny talk page to find?? Georgia guy 00:43, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

You ſinner! You broke the pattern! Why did you do this? —MEſEDROCKER (talk) 20:08, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Jeez, you ſcrewed up the pattern. Uſe ſhort ſ's ſomewhere elſe.Cameron Nedland 23:35, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Where the bee ſucks, there ſuck I;
In a cowſlip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After ſummer merrily.
--William Shakeſpeare
That's ſheer ſucking genius. —Nightstallion (?) 22:49, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


Why is it called the "deſcending" s when it has an aſcender but no deſcender? Acſenray 21:13, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

You also ſcrewed up the pattern! But I dont know why its called deſcending.Cameron Nedland 23:36, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Long s had a dethender to begin with, and during the medieval era thcribeth gradually thortened the dethender part until long s had no dethender to thpeak of. Descenderless long esess are an example of atrophied letter forms. Oh gee, now I've completely broken the pattern.
Arbo 21:30, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Triple ſ[edit]

How would you spell "brasssmith"? Would it be braſſſmith?Cameron Nedland 16:42, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Who knows? Given that users of this style varied between writing a medial ss as ſſ and ſs, I seriously doubt that there was a standard for the incredibly rare triple s.--Prosfilaes 18:09, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Seeing as "brasssmith" is a compound word, I would gueſs the common uſe to be braſsſmith (though of courſe I can't be certain). --Algorithm 01:49, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it'ſ braſſſmith. -Monkey 13!!! 20:22, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, German orþography made -ßſ- (braßſmiþ) from every triple ſ. Wikipeditor 18:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I for one ſuſpect that the word would have been ſplit and rendered as "braſs-ſmith". Cactus Wren 19:48, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

ſſſ or sss do not exiſt if you uſe ſ. 3 s are allways ſsſ. The right form is braſsſmith. (talk) 13:02, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

There is a tendency to eliminate the unusual in practice.Such as hyphenation to eliminate the confluence of triple s words such as "Head mistressship", and several Scottish counties such as Rossshire, Invernessshire,etc. And in patronessship, goddessship, bossship, princessship, governessship,duchessship,countessship, postmistressshipm, waitressship, hostessship, etc. Or where hyphenation is not an option, to avoid the use of words such as Possessionlessness. Similarly with many other 'triple-letter' words;'frillless'looks odd and so is often hyphenated, and 'chaffinch' is always so spelt, never 'chafffinch' or chaff-finch'. (talk) 02:08, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Thank you; your uncited anonymous opinion proves everything.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:20, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
"brasssmith" would correctly be written "braſs-ſmith" or "braſs ſmith". Very occasionally you do find compound words with the first element ending in double-s and the second element beginning with s written as a single word (I suspect most cases are due to typesetters trying to save space), in which case the middle letter s is written short, e.g. Croſsſtitch and croſsſtaff, although "croſs-ſtitch" and "croſs-ſtaff" are far more common (Google Book Search finds one example of "croſsſtitch" but twenty of "croſs-ſtitch"). BabelStone (talk) 12:45, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

misuse of characters.[edit]

∫ (U+222b) is not the long s; it does not have the letter property in Unicode, and it doesn't change when the text is automatically uppercased. It is defined to be the integral symbol.--Prosfilaes 04:27, 3 June 2006 (UTC) ſſſ or sss do not exist if you use ſ. The right form is braſsſmith. (talk) 12:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

May the ſ character bloſsom like the roſe[edit]

And, may the phyſical ſpacing of it one day improve. A very intereſting page with fine illuſstrations. CApitol3 12:39, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Sorry for the nitpicking, but it ſhould be "bloſſom". "-om" is not a ſeparate part of a compound.--2001:A60:15A3:2A01:ECAC:DD44:1B67:5A21 (talk) 01:44, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Depends on which usage you are trying to go for. By the mid- to late 19th-century, the use of the long s singly had all but died out, so that even in handwriting it would only be poſsible to find it as the first in a sequence of two eſses – in which case it did not actually matter all that much if they occurred at compound boundaries. (Also, I find this more restricted usage leſs annoying to read, which means I can actually have some anachronistic fun using it in writing; it also means I don't need to edit my signature every single time I post here.) Double sharp (talk) 12:59, 5 November 2016 (UTC)


I have abſolutely no idea on how to uſe it.. Any place I could uſe an normal 's' I can place an 'ſ'? Iſ it that ſimple? Or am I wrong? I probably am, but uſed it wherever I could becauſe I read the talk page before posting and people are juſt crucifying who don't uſe it... o_o' 22:29, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

The rules weren't always applied conſiſtently, but the idea is that all lower-caſe S's should be written as "ſ" unleſs they're at the end of the word. The "s" we generally uſe uſed to be called the "terminal" s. —Chowbok 01:51, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Or frequently if the s was uſed in pairs; it would be paſsed, not paſſed.--Prosfilaes 13:09, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks... :D 20:07, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Stupid idea: how about creating ſ, an wikipedia 'language' uſing only ſ and ß? :D 20:08, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't think "ſs" is a language Code. You would have to uſe something like "en-ſ" or "engliſh", ſimilar to "ſimple": simple:. 01:30, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Would be nice to have more about usage in the actual article. It talks mostly about fonts which is OK i guess but probably not what people come to this article looking for. (talk) 18:06, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Okay, ſo thiſ page uſeſ the long-ſ but not the ß?! I think thiſ iſ a preßing matter that needſ to be addreßed..:Stirb Nicht Vor Mir:. 09:04, 5 Auguſt 2007 (UTC)

ß is not uſed between two vowels (unleß by chance the word is a compound, and both s belong to the firſt.--2001:A60:15A3:2A01:ECAC:DD44:1B67:5A21 (talk) 01:47, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Alt code[edit]

Anyone knows its Alt (and other) codes, like in the ß page?




   Alt+0223 (on the numeric keypad), Alt+225 (alſo on the numeric keypad), and Alt+98785 (alſo on the numeric keypad)

Alt+0223, Alt+225 and Alt+98785 all produce ß, not ſ, on my computer. Jake95(talk!) 19:36, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

It ſeems to be that not only the computer but the application being typed into muſt ſupport Unicode properly. On my computer, typing Alt+0383 in Wordpad or Word or Charmap produces ſ; but in Notepad and this Firefox textarea, it produces ?, regardleſs of the font ſet in Notepad; and in a cmd.exe conſole it produces nothing. It's poſsible to paſte a proper ſ in place but not to activate it with Alt-0383. (talk) 14:52, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

98785 for me produces this chineſe character: 臡, but on non-unicode ſyſtems it would produce ß. The alt code for long-s is alt-0383 or alt-383, and only works on unicode ſytems. --Random832(tc21:55, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
You mean ſyſtems. Jake95(talk!) 16:55, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

X-based ſyſtems

   AltGr+s or Compose, s, s

GNU Emacs

   C-x 8 " s


   Ctrl-Shift-DF or (in GNOME verſions 2.15 and later) Ctrl-Shift-U, df 22:33, 2 Nſvſmbſr 2006 (UTC)

Note the above are also all for ß, not ſ - Ctrl-Shift-17F for gnome in that case. --Random832(tc21:55, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

I downloaded a program called DeKey which allowſ me to type umlautſ and other ligatureſ with uſe of the right Alt key in combination with a letter, much like the AltGr function on certain computerſ. Unfortunately it doeſn't seem to be able to replicate the long ſ..:Stirb Nicht Vor Mir:. 11:59, 8 Auguſt 2007 (UTC)

Þe X compoſe command gives ß. Þe correct command for ſ is

    compose, f, s (talk) 08:50, 17 March 2011 (UTC)


I certainly underſtand why the long s has fallen out of uſe, but could someone explain why it exiſted in the firſt place? Was there ſome typographical reaſon for having two different lowercaſe verſions of 's' but not other letters? --Birdhombre 16:54, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

The long s was the original form of the letter in ſome handwritings, and the ſhort s was the variant. The ſhort variant was introduced becauſe it looked better uſed in ligatures and terminally. The long s ſeems to have fallen out of uſe as the elaborate handwritings did: by modern times handwritings had ſtarted to reſemble the ſhape of the letters alſo uſed in bookſetting (modern forms). There were certainly other letters with variant forms, such as the r rotunda, which alſo ſurvived to near-modern times. -- Jordi· 17:34, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Nice comment, why is this not in the article? (talk) 18:08, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Not to mention the early ſtyle of printing would abbreviate an n or m at the end of the word with a daſh over the laſt vowel, when the typographer felt like it, along with a variety of other ligatures and ſymbols.--Proſfilaes 18:09, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
True. Medieval and early modern handwriting uſed many abbreviations and ſpecial characters now no longer uſed. -- Jordi· 18:16, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick reſponſe. Theſe might be good to include in the article as well (or maybe it is and I juſt mißed it). --Birdhombre 23:52, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Moſt of the verifyable info is in the Hiſtory and Modern uſage ſections. One problem with theſe kind of characters is that it is hard to find print ſources of reaſons why it fell out of general uſe. -- Jordi· 14:08, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
I found it personally convenient to uſe it in my own handwriting. Writing an s has the feeling of ſtopping ſomething - writing an ſ where there is nothing ſtopped feels more natural and quicker. Not that that would prove anything ;-)
That ſaid, there are ſome - rare - occurrences where conſiſtent and correct uſe of the two s variants clears ambiguities. The ſchoolbook example in my native German is "Wachſtube" (watch room) vſ. "Wachstube" (wax tube).--2001:A60:15A3:2A01:ECAC:DD44:1B67:5A21 (talk) 01:52, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Further about ſ[edit]

Ðe letter ſ is ſweet! We ſhould use it more. Alſo, braſsſmith is correct. I þink it alſo makes the word "ſcrewed" look muć better. Wiþ a compoſe key on Linux, you can uſe Compoſ, f, s to get it.

Ðiſ iſ getting ſilly. toresbe 23:03, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Gettiŋ ſilly, you ſay? I ſay we revive ſome of ðeſe 'antique' letters, and (of courſe) briŋ ðe "eszett ("ß")" in from German. To me it's quite a preßiŋ ißue. I þink we need more letters!--Life in General (Talk) 22:18, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Breaking open templates[edit]

Let's not open templates onto the page in order to change their s's to the long-s. It makes it too hard to edit the templates and adds too much junk to the top of the page to make it worth it.--Prosfilaes 09:37, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Can this be moved to having ſ as the title?[edit]

I was under the impreſſion that lowercaſe letters were not a problem at the beginning of titles any more. Vitriol 16:52, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

It is ſupriſing that you have mentioned this as it is already mentioned under the ſubheading "Why not name this page %c5%bf ?". Of course they are are problem. Look at Ebay, IPod (and related articles), EMac, IBook, etc. If the problem was ſolved, then theſe articles would have been the firſt to be corrected, along with this one, ſurely? Jake95(talk!) 17:04, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I apoligiſe for not looking harder at this page to find a ſubheading already suitable. However, I'm not ſure I underſtand the reſt of what you are ſaying. It ſeems like you're ſaying the mentioned articles are not fixed, when they are. Call me confuſed :/ Vitriol 20:39, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Quite unfortunately, those articleſ are only ſemi-fixed. That iſ, they pretend to be fixed when they really aren't. If you view the articleſ you'll ſee that yeſ indeed the titleſ appear to be lowercaſe, but the titleſ they are ſtored under are really uppercaſe. The lowercaſe title iſ ſome Cſſ magic or ſome ſuch, but the article itſelf really beginſ with a capital letter. Here'ſ a demonstration of the problem: [[ſ]] comes out to be ſ... which if you hover over leadſ to S, not ſ. Thuſ the ſ article cannot be created... which ſucks. --Cadby (talk) 00:51, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Naming conventions (technical restrictions) is the place for anſwers! --mordicai. 03:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
"Cſſ" — I haven't seen anything so amusing since BJAODN... 19:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Uſer:Remember the dot took out the "The correct title iſ..." meſſage that uſed to appear at the ſtart of the article, I find myſelf unable to decide whether that ſhould be the caſe or not. :-) I ſuppose I can ſee how it could make more ſenſe there if we were actually under the [[S]] title. Anyway, juſt thought I'd ſay about it in caſe. tiny plaſtic Grey Knight 17:23, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I just had to do it[edit]

I had ſome fun Stale Fries 03:45, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Actually, you talking about something like thiſ? ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 23:58, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

alternate explanation[edit]

I remember reading ſomewhere that uſe of the long s was partially due to midieval printing -- the ſhort form S was ſuppoſedly more prone to breakage, ſo the long form was uſed for that reaſon. I can't remember where I picked that up, though, and I have yet to ſee a ſingle authoritative ſource that ſubſtantiates it. —Preceding unſigned comment added by (talk) 04:24, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

No, it exiſted before movable-type printing was even invented. However, the practiſe of placing the period or comma inside the quote marks was ſtarted for this reason. —Random832 14:19, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Typeſetting only, or curſive?[edit]

Was the "long s" uſed only in printed materials ſuch as books and broadſheets, or was it alſo uſed in handwritten materials? Did Mr. Thos. Jefferſon, for inſtance, uſe it in his journals? Cactus Wren 19:47, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

It existed in some handwriting styles. As for Jefferson's, you'd have to check his writing.--Prosfilaes 14:37, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

About two conſecutive "ſ"s[edit]

What do you do when two "ſ"s lie together? Like in the word "berrassaður". Would it be ſpelled "berraſsaður" or "berraſſaður"? And why? --BiT 04:46, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

This is what the German "double S ſign" was made for: It is your first verſion, but with the "ſs" ligatured into one character. As to the correctneſs, in German its ſtandardized, in Engliſh anything went. (talk) 05:14, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
That ſeems to be the caſe, although the more learned Engliſh printers, and newſpapers ſuch as The Times, uſed ſſ in the middle of a word and ſs at the end. Jeſs Cully (talk) 23:29, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
The ß was not invented for writing two ſ simply; that's where just ſſ would be used. The ß exiſts, and ſpecifically, to repreſent "ſs". I don't know the word "berrassaður", ſo I can't ſay for ſure, but it should be "berraſſaður". You write ſ in general, and s at the end of a word, or of a part of a compound word, or juſt generally when ſomething ends. So for adreſſing an envelope, it might be neceſſary to use an addreßbook.--2001:A60:15A3:2A01:ECAC:DD44:1B67:5A21 (talk) 01:56, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia Editing[edit]

How doeſ thiſ relate to Wikipedia editing practiceſ? I would like to enter a quote from an old ſource which containſ numerouſ medial "s" characterſ. ſhould I uſe an "ſ" character or the ſhort "s"? If ſo, how can I be ſure that uſerſ will be able to ſee the "ſ" character rather than an "s"? I can ſee the "ſ" character when typing thiſ edit, but not when viewing the preſented page. It juſt appearſ aſ a box. I am uſing Windowſ 98 ſE and IE 6.0. I underſtand that the medial "s" iſ repreſented in Unicode by the ſign U+017F, and may be repreſented in HTML aſ ſ (hex) or ſ (decimal). Could I uſe unicode or HTML when editing Wikipedia to maximize viewability? What if the ſource document containſ two conſecutive medial "s" characterſ? I realize that may not be conſidered correct, but tranſcription integrity ſuggeſtſ that I tranſcribe aſ written. (talk) 00:27, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Use the s. The ſ/s split does not as a general rule carry information, and modern transcription almost invariably uses just the s, even in scholarly sources.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:03, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
You can uſe it if you want; worſt comes to worſt, ſomeone will change it. If nothing elſe, the "more true" verſion will remain in hiſtory. (talk) 05:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
A word of advice : we don't uſe the long s at the end of a word. Jeſs Cully (talk) 14:26, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
ſpeaking of which, early in the article, the phraſe "thus the statement later in this article that the long 's' "never occurred at the end of a word" is not strictly correct, although the exceptions are too rare and archaic to invalidate the point made there." is made, and as noted in that ſtatement, later in the article it ſays "... which is highly inaccurate, to say the least, considering long s never occurred at the end of a word; only either at the beginning or in the middle." To me, that ſeems rather unprofeſsional. The article probably shouldn't contradict itſelf and probably shouldn't acknowledge that it's doing ſo either. -Shortspecialbus (talk) 01:53, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I found it amusing that someone even considered, but then also implemented, a reference in the article to something that was written later in the same article. -- Sverdrup (talk) 20:55, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

The long s is called the "medial s" because it is situated in the middle of a word, in other words, it is not situated at the end of a word.Lestrade (talk) 02:26, 10 March 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Last usage in the USA[edit]

Is there any ſource for the laſt ſerious and conſiſtent uſe of "ſ" in Engliſh in the United States? The article ſays that it fell out of favor after about 1820, but right now I'm ſcanning the minutes of the Seſsion (the governing board) of a church in Pittſburgh, which as late as 6 October 1888 ſpeaks of the Seſsion holding its meetings in the Seſsion meeting room of the church: the Seſsion clerk (the ſecretary) conſiſtently ſpells it "Seſsion" but always writes of everything else using the letters that are commonly used today: for example, the phraſe "Seſsion met at the call of the Moderator [the board preſident, here the church paſtor] and was by him constituted with prayer", written in this exact ſtyle, occurs at the beginning of each meeting for many years' worth of minutes. Is this perhaps juſt a bored clerk with nothing elſe to do? Nyttend (talk) 04:02, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Probably ſome ſtubborn old fool who waſn't about to give up the old way of doing things. That would be the only example I've ever ſeen of real long-s at anywhere near that late of date.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:05, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It muſt be ſome traditional thing: as I'm working with minutes of Seſsions for churches in this denomination, many ſeſsion clerks nationwide uſe it (into the 1890s!), and characteriſtically not uſing except for "Seſsion". This denomination, well into the 20th century, was ſtrongly driven by tradition (bring in Tevye!), even when (in things like this) it had absolutely nothing to do with its doctrine. Nyttend (talk) 13:26, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems that in America at least, even long after long s had fallen out of favour in printing, it was common to use ſs for double s (but short s in all other positions) in handwriting. So in American printed books from the late 19th and early 20th century that reproduce what were originally handwritten records you can often see words such as seſsion. You can see this phenomenon right up to the present day; for example Grant Foreman's Pioneer Days in the Early Southwest (1994) faithfully quotes an 1841 (originally handwritten) letter from Montfort Stokes that uses claſs, Commiſsion, trespaſsed, Congreſs, seſsion, etc., but uses short s in all other positions. BabelStone (talk) 14:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
In fact you can see this phenomenon in the 1791 manuscript of the United States Bill of Rights that is shown at the top of the Long s page, where long s is only used before a short s (e.g. Congreſs, expreſsed, aſsembled, leſs, proceſs, etc.). BabelStone (talk) 09:21, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
I can atteſt to that as well, having seen an engraved mirror with a didication to "Miſs (someone), with best wishes". I think it survived in that usage as a way of being extremely formal, the way diploma font is used to suggest ancient education when people wrote with angled pens, etc. (talk) 01:59, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
If anybody will provide a citation for these instances of late use of the long s in the Pittsburth Session minutes, we can include the example in the article. I have citations for a number of instances in the U.K.Scogdill (talk) 23:01, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Modern Usage[edit]

Can we please not add any more silly examples of the 'Fad-Eyed Fal' type to the Modern Usage section. This section is already far too long when compared with the rather minimal information about historic usage. Also, do we really need paragraphs on the integral sign and the phonetic esh letter -- surely it is sufficient to have them referenced in the 'See also' section. BabelStone (talk) 11:46, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the 'See also' section is almost always a bad idea; it gives no context to why these articles are being linked to. I see nothing wrong with the sentences on the integral sign and esh as they stand currently.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:42, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, then how about moving them to a new section entitled something like 'Derived characters', as the integral sign at least is not that modern. BabelStone (talk) 14:13, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
The easiest thing to do is to remove "Fad-eyed Fal" and her illiterate compatriots. They add nothing to the article and detract from its encyclopedic tone. It is sufficient to note that the potential confusion is exploited by humorists; the rest is trivia.RandomCritic (talk) 20:17, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The rule in writing is show, don't tell. Vivid writing uses examples, not just flat out statements. That adds a lot to the article.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:16, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a popular magazine. The rule here is to be brief and direct and to omit anything that doesn't contribute to the primary subject matter. A long collection of examples of s>f "humour" is trivia, and strays from the actual topic.RandomCritic (talk) 11:47, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
The fact that this is a encyclopedia doesn't mean we should try to be dull and unreadable. And this differs from even the current practice in the article; note that every one of the four paragraphs above that paragraph mentions names and examples. Why do you say that it's "the first sound in the English word shun"? That's an example, not brief or direct. I'm not asking for a long collection of examples; that's a straw-man. But there should be at least one example there.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:25, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Prosfilaes that a single example would be useful, and would help readers understand what the bare statement "... based on the intentional misreading of s as f" actually means. I would favour the Vicar of Dibley example as it is so funny (but maybe that is cultural). At any rate, definitely not one of the examples with capital F such as "Fad-Eyed Fal" as that makes no sense (how can you read "Sad-Eyed Sal" as "Fad-Eyed Fal" ?). BabelStone (talk) 11:05, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Restored one example. I hope it doesn't attract others, though. RandomCritic (talk) 00:36, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
It obviously does attract more examples, but no matter, we'll just keep reverting them. BabelStone (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 21:08, 19 October 2008 (UTC).


The italicized form of ſ always appears, at leaſt on my browſer, without a deſcender, i.e., ſimply a non-italic ſ with a ſlant, thus: ſ, as in ſuperſeſſion.

I have never, however, ſeen this form in actual printed texts which uſe both long ſ and italics, from the 16th to 19th centuries. There it is always ʃ with a deſcender, identical to the "eſh" IPA ſign: e.g. non-italic ſuperſeſſion, italic ʃuperʃeʃʃion.

Is there any way to get the appearance of the italic form of long ſ correct, or is this baſically an inſoluble problem? RandomCritic (talk) 19:36, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

This is purely a font issue. Most italic serif fonts that support long s do correctly have the form with a descending tail, some with a knob (e.g. Cambria), but most without (e.g. Times New Roman). On my system the italic versions of the following fonts all have a long-tailed ſ : Aboriginal Serif, Book Antiqua, Bookman Old Style, Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Caslon, Century Schoolbook, Charis SIL, Consolas, Constantia, Corbel, DejaVu Serif, Garamond, Gentium, Georgia, Junicode, Minion Pro, Monotype Corsiva, Palatino Linotype, and Times New Roman. But sans serif fonts such as Arial generally just have a slanting form of the long s, which is why the italic forms of words with long s do not look nice here on Wikipedia (does anyone know if there is any way of specifying a serif typeface using Wiki markup?). BabelStone (talk) 10:46, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
alſo Hoefler Text, Linux Libertine. (Argh, now I find that none of my blackletter fonts have 'ſ'!) —Tamfang (talk) 00:19, 21 December 2012 (UTC)


I notice in several places that the article switches case when referring to Blackletter scripts. A quick read of the Blackletter article suggests it should be a proper capital. I'll go through and standardize this article if there is no objection... //Blaxthos ( t / c ) 22:05, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, personally I tend to write "blackletter" with lower case initial, like italic and roman, but consistency between articles is important. However, looking at the Blackletter article, it has 19 instances of "Blackletter" (including some sentence initial occurences) and 34 instances of "blackletter", so it is not clear which form is prefered in that article. I suggest you try to standardize the Blackletter article first, and then change this article to use the form agreed upon for Blackletter. BabelStone (talk) 09:02, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Historical Usage Graph[edit]

I find the new diagram interesting, but too flawed to use in the article. Everything it says that isn't already said in the article is questionable. Google's data has two problems; first, there's quite a bit of misdated material in Google's corpus. More importantly, laſt is frequently OCRed as last by Google; do the n-gram and check out the hits for last in the 1700-1720 period, they're all laſt or mis-dated material. This graph gives the incorrect impression that there was some usage of "last" in the early 18th century, when that usage is just problems with the data.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:15, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

It is an interesting diagram, but it looks too much like original research, and it is problematic to provide raw data without being able to back it up with references to reliable sources that discuss and analyse the source data. BabelStone (talk) 01:32, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
There's an element of original research, of course, but I'd argue that my diagram is essentially a graphical representation of Google's published data that anybody could easily check. As for the OCR issues, I've detailed them in the text accompanying the diagram commons:file:Historical_usage_of_long_s.svg (which hasn't been picked up by its English Wikipedia copy, at the time of writing). Part of the reason that I inserted the diagram was that the crossover was very marked and clear, and smoothe enough to indicate that multiple documents were contributing to the result, giving a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the result. And yet it didn't really match the dates given for Britain and America in the text a few days back, but now I see that it does, which is interesting -- see the text before and after the edits by Potosino on 24th and 25th December.--Farry (talk) 18:48, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
It is a graphical representation of Google's data, and I would be less adverse to it if we were showing the proportion of laft and last in English. But using it for long-s has all sort of research questions; the OCR problems, the question of whether last is the appropriate word here, etc. It's non-trivial OR.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:53, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Note that it's an illustration. Photographs in Wikipedia are usually original work but are readily accepted. Diagrams seem to have a similar dispensation: Commons:Category:Diagrams. --Farry (talk) 11:58, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
There's a difference between original work and original research. This is doing a sample of one piece of data, doing your own noise processing and concluding it means something entirely orthogonal to what it says on the tin (no matter how justified that may be). That's original research.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:24, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll note that on my Wikimedia-Commons talk page, that in May 2011, somebody added a Barnstar, which according to the edit summary was for the long-s diagram, and in April 2012, somebody added a "thanks - very interesting" for it. So that's two people that found it useful enough to comment on my talk page, which I believe is somewhat unusual for diagrams. Also, I see that somebody included it in the French version of this article, with a French translation of the comment text. Nearly all diagrams here on Wikipedia have elements of original research, due to Wikipedia preferring original work for illustrations and diagrams (unlike the textual information) because of the licensing issues. --Farry (talk) 09:07, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Which doesn't negate the fact that it's wrong. The label of the image is not what the image is of, and what the image is of is highly unprocessed data, of one word. It's like sticking an image on global warming that shows the temperature readings from one source known to have serious data problems.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:03, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The crossover point on the graph is the important thing, and that is clear-cut and unambiguous, and that's really all that shows up in the small-size diagram as shown in the article. If somebody wants to look at the diagram in detail, then its page details all the issues. It's not "wrong". I agree with the general principles of the Wikipedia rules for verifiability, and try to keep to them, and although I concede that I might be biassed as the creator of this diagram, it does seem to me that this diagram is a positive contribution. and there's evidence that three others agree.--Farry (talk) 15:10, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
I see you've deleted it a third time now. Well, I'm too close to this to be unbiassed. I'd have let it go by now were it not for others saying that they liked it, making me a bit concerned about the loss of something that others find useful. I'll see if Wikipedia has arbitration available to say yes or no.--Farry (talk) 20:35, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I've asked for an assessment at the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard.--Farry (talk) 10:47, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

A permanent link the Noticeboard discussion: Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard/Archive_50#Talk:Long_s.23Historical_Usage_Graph.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:53, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Clarification needed[edit]

Sorry to have to break the olde Renaiſsance Faire-style reverie and return to Earth with an encylopædia issue...

(In the ¶'s below, I use terminology as defined on Adobe's website [1])

Sub "History", the final phrase in the second paragraph is rather ambiguous.

In "not possible with the other typeforms mentioned without kerning", does "without kerning" mean (1) "unless they are kerned", or (2) by is it referring to specific 'typeforms' (faces or families?), any of which may not be possessed of kerning? Is it talking of physical, "hot metal" fonts, or of computer fonts?

I find it less than useful even to bring a typesetting-specific concept—kerning—into this part of the exposition of the letterform because kerning is implementation-specific: the availability and usefulness of kerning is not only font specific, but specific to unique implementations, versions, and formats (physical or computer [ttf, otf (pfb outlines), otf (ttf outlines), pfb, sfnt, fon, snf, pcf, etc. ad nauseum]) of those individual fonts.

Indeed, saying that long-s glyphs in italic fonts don't have the left-hand "nub" is not currently correct: the Palatino Linotype Italic and Bold Italic fonts do have a left-hand "nub", whether kerning is involved or not. (This is also the case with both the historic Bodoni and Didot Italic and Bold Italic faces digitized into TTF's by the Greek Font Society [2]. Such an all-encompassing exclusive statement requires supporting documentation.

I also question this statement technically, as this suggests that the act of kerning substitutes glyphs (one with, for one without a "nub") from within (computer) fonts, something that it simply doesn't do. Kerning moves existing glyphs per x- and y-offsets as defined in kerning pairs (in old TTF, in the "kern" table; in OTF, possibly using the GPOS table's data instead); it does no glyph substitution (info found in OTF's GSUB table).

--Polemyx (talk) 18:14, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Kerning is the ability to change the width between letters, depending on which letters are involved. A proper italic long s would need to be kerned so that it actually overlaps the previous character. Doing this is not possible with movable type, and could not be done automatically (if at all) in older computer fonts. Even proportional width typewriters didn't have the ability to move the stamp backwards so it would properly overlap. — trlkly 12:46, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Long forgotten by all but antiquarians?[edit]

As of the 11th of June 2013, the article reads the following:

Another survival of the long s was the abbreviation used in British English for shilling, as in "5∕–", where the shilling mark "∕" stood in for the long s which had been long forgotten by all but antiquarians.

Speaking as one who grew up when the currency was still £sd, we were all taught at school that ‘ ∕ ’ stood for the long-s. That was in Hants. in the '50s, i.e. the 1950s, not the 1850s … and in point of fact, the ‘ s ’, whether long or round — as in the alternate form of writing ‘ 5s. ’ for five shillings — stood for the Latin ‘solidus’, not shilling(s).

Although decimalisation was not to come for another twenty years, modernisation saw the double stroke in the Pound (Sterling) sign ‘₤’ give way to the more simplified ‘£’, just as the double hyphen for naught, still written by many in the 1950s as ‘ 5∕゠ ’ or ‘ 5∕⸗ ’, gave way to a single hyphen as in the example cited above, ‘ 5∕- ’. So too, in time, a triangular wedge, that looked similar to an acute accent, was used to express shillings, for instance as when writing ‘ 2´6 ’ for ‘ 2/6 ’. However, this was still recognised as an adaptation of the long-s shilling mark.

See shilling, with its statements regarding the shilling mark and the long-s, given as common knowledge … and not arcane, or esoteric to all but an antiquarian.

Christian Gregory (talk) 03:36, 12 June 2013 (UTC)


Thif fucks! Thif article needf more information!

The character is actually "ſ", not "f". Double ſharp (talk) 16:54, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Decline in Use[edit]

A discussion on the listserv for Victorianists has led me to revise part of this article, and I'm writing here to let you know I'm about to make a pretty big change in this article. Mostly, I'm expanding the section on the times when the long s fell out of use, with examples culled from that discussion. I'm a Victorianist, not a specialist in type, and so will appreciate any help you can give in making this article more useful to people attempting to date documents that use the long s, either in type or manuscript. I'm thinking of adding a subsection in the "History" section called "Decline in Use."

Also, I'm wondering about citing that listserv discussion. I have a number of references to primary and secondary sources, as usual, but the listserv discussion has been archived. It will be messy to cite those postings, because some of the sentences will have both a footnote- and bibliography-type reference as well as this citation to the listserv discussion. But Victoria is a listserv made up of scholars in the field, and so i can also imagine an argument for citing those postings.

I'll be grateful for any suggestions and help! 20:36, 31 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scogdill (talkcontribs)

I can't help you much but please do add that information. I find it really puzzling that this letter form had been used for centuries, only to then die out in a matter of two decades. Was there some event that triggered this? --Mudd1 (talk) 13:59, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Maybe after seeing some ſ-less text in print for the first time, people were surprised at how much easier it was to read? Just a guess though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:58, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Is ſs a different thing?[edit]

The following refers to [] and was originally posted at User talk:Prosfilaes:<br In the article it is: "ſ [...] occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word". But then it would be "poſſeſs" & "ſucceſſful" and not "poſſeſs" & "ſucceſsful" in English, as all s in "succesful" are at the beginning or the middle of the word. So the lead is wrong.
"ſucceſsful" most likely can be best explained as "ſucceſs + -ful", i.e. "short s also appears at the end of each component within a compound word".
But your comment was: "no, ſs is a completely different thing".
So, please tell me how it is "completely different", and maybe fix the contradiction between the introduction and the spelling "ſucceſsful".
No explaination is this: As poſſeſs & ſucceſsful occured in the same text, it is not that ſſ/ss sometimes became ſs or ß in general which would lead to "poſseſs" or "poßeß" and "ſucceſsful" or "ſucceßful".
By the way: "ſ [...] occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word" even together with "In German blackletter, the rules are more complicated: short s also appears at the end of each component within a compound word." maybe isn't correct. It is said that in some cases short s was used even inside a non-compound word, like in front of some letters like k, as "grotesk" instead of "groteſk". -eXplodit (talk) 07:37, 5 July 2015 (UTC) resp. 23:55, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

What is hard to understand about "The double s in the middle of a word was often written with a long s and a short s, as in Miſsiſsippi."?--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:17, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Final Long "s"[edit]

"[Long s] was occasionally used at the end of a word, a practice that quickly died but that was occasionally revived in Italian printing between about 1465 and 1480". 

I know that long final 's' is used throughout Lucan's "Pharsalia" printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz at Rome in 1469. But (and I'm not doubting the validity of this comment) can anyone supply any other examples? (talk) 01:37, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Bell's "Shakespeare"[edit]

"Pioneer of type design John Bell (1746–1831), who started the British Letter Foundry in 1788, commissioned the William Caslon Company to produce a new modern typeface for him and is often "credited with the demise of the long s."

Rumour has it - probably a mere conjecture - that when Bell published his edition of Shakespeare in 20 volumes, in 1774,he was rather shocked by the visual appearance of Ariel's song - as set in his usual font - from "The Tempest", Act 5 sc.1:- "Where the bee sucks, there suck I". (talk) 02:52, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

You are not the firſt to point this out! Already in this amuſing contemporary document, which I aſsume was meant to be an accurate reflection of the uſage of the long s in its heyday, the firſt rule is to avoid having ſ and f together: if this be hiſtorical, then the confuſion must go a long way back. However, I doubt Bell would have focuſed his reaſoning on the particular word "ſuck", as opposed to general arguments regarding the ſimilarity of the glyphs "ſ" and "f". Double ſharp (talk) 12:00, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
P.S. Yes, I do actually write like that in real life when I feel like it and I am in a ſituation where people will underſtand. And not juſt in Engliſh! ^_^ Double ſharp (talk) 12:04, 3 June 2016 (UTC)