ſ U+017F, ſ
Latin Extended-A ƀ


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Proper use of the long s is demonstrated by the words Bürgerſaal and Ratsſäle on a German sign, but incorrect use can be seen in the third word, Trausaal, causing it to be parsed as ‘Trausaal’.


ſ (upper case S)

  1. (obsolete or archaic) The long s, a form of the letter ess (S).

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit



ſ (lower case, upper case S, plural ſs or ſ's)

  1. (archaic) The nineteenth letter of the English alphabet, called long s, medial s, or descending s and written in the Latin script.
    • 1595, William Perkins, A Golden Chaine, or The Description Oe Theologie, page 16:
      God is not onely a bare permiſsiue agent in an euill worke, but a powerfull effectour of the ſame []
    • 1640, The Proceedings of the Commissioners Sent from the Parliament of Scotland to the King, page 52:
      The Lord Commiſsioner ſheweth, that it is his Majeſties will that the Parliament be prorogated to the 2. of June, and that by his Majeſties authority only: of the prorogation, the prætenſion is pag. 30.
    • 1669, An Embassy from the East-India Company on the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperor of China, pages 20–21:
      So upon the 20. of August Mr. Frederick Schzdel a Merchant, ſet ſail in the good Ship called the Brown Fiſh, very richly freighted with all ſorts of Merchandizes from Taiwan to Canton; and after nine days ſail, landed in the Canton River, at a place called Heytamon.
    • 1702, Francisco de Quevedo-Villegas, Roger Lestrange, transl., The Visions of Dom Francisco de Quevedo-Villegas. Knight of the Order of St. James., London: [] B. Harris, page 1:
      THE FIRST VISION OF THE Algouazil (or Catchpole) Poſſest.
    • 1767, Henry Fielding, The Works of Henry Fielding: In Twelve Volumes, with the Life of the Author, volume 3, page 273:
      Dor. I have been told, noble Squire, that you once impos’d a certain lady for Dulcinea on your maſter; now what think you if this young lady here ſhould perſonate that incomparable princeſs? / Jez. Who, I? / San. Adod! your princeſsſhip has hit it; for he has never ſeen this Dulcinea, nor has any body elſe, that I can hear of;
    • 1783, Joseph Ritson, Remarks, Critical and Illustrative, on the Text and Notes of the Last Edition of Shakspeare, page 223:
      But he does not ſtab him for his treachery toward hisſelf []
    • 1785, Vicesimus Knox, Liberal Education: Or, a Practical Treatiſe on the Methods of Acquiring Uſeful and Polite Learning, vol. II, pp. 1 & 3, section XXXI: On the regulation of puerile diverſions:
      Many fanciful methods have been invented by thoſe who wiſhed to render puerile ſports conducive to improvement. I never found that they were ſucceſsful.
      I muſt own myſelf an advocate for puerile liberty*, during the alloted hours of relaxation. Boys have much reſtraint and confinement in the time of ſtudy.
      Thoſe of the effeminate kind ſuperinduce effeminacy; weakneſs of mind, no leſs than imbecility of body. Something ſimilar happens in puerile diverſions. The boy who has been kept in leading-ſtrings too long, and reſtrained from hardy ſports by the fondneſs of his mother, will ſcarcely ever become a man; or poſſeſs that becoming ſpirit which can enable him to act his part with propriety.
    • 1796, John Hatsell, Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons: With Observations, page 102:
      75. On the 11th of May, 1759, the Lords amend a turnpike road Bill, by inſerting a clauſe, “That no gate ſhall be erected within a mile of Enſham Ferry”. The conſideration of this amendment is reſolved, nemine contradicente, to be put off for a month.
    • 1892, Richard Le Gallienne, English Poems, London: Elkin Mathews and John Lane at The Bodley Head; New York: The Cassell Publishing Company, [], page [iii]:
      Engliſh Poems / [] / New York: The Caſsell Publiſhing Company, 104, Fourth Avene.

Usage notesEdit

  • This is the long, medial, or descending s, as distinct from the short or terminal s (s).
  • In Roman and Fraktur script, the long S was typically used everywhere except at the end of words, where the short S was used. This distinction was sometimes maintained in derivative or compound words, as for example hisſelf (his + (-)ſelf), ſucceſsful (ſucceſs + -ful), princeſsſhip (see the 1767 quotation).
  • Some documents wrote or typeset ss as ſs, e.g. in neceſsary, either as a deviation from all nonfinal s being ſ, or as a deviation from all s being s (as in the the US Declaration of Independence: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes neceſsary for one people to diſsolve...", or US Constitution: "the first Claſs shall...").
  • This distinction occurred only in minuscule (lowercase); the single majuscule (uppercase) form S was used regardless of word-position.
  • Sometimes “st” was used instead of “ſt”.

Middle FrenchEdit



  1. typographical variant of s, typically used for all instances except a final -s