From Spanish cedilla (literally “little zed”), c. 1600. In Spanish cedilla referred to the letter ⟨Ç⟩, which had evolved from ⟨Ꝣ⟩, a Visigothic form of the letter Z (called a Z with copete); hence the name. The lower part of ⟨Ç⟩ (which came to be reinterpreted as a diacritical mark under a C) is the remnant of the original Z, after it gradually reduced in size; whereas the upper part was originally just an ornamentation over the Z (which increased in size until it resembled letter C, and finally came to be identified with this letter).
cedilla (plural cedillas)
|¸ Ç ç|
- (orthography) In the spelling of Catalan, French, Portuguese and some other languages, a mark ⟨¸⟩ sometimes placed under the letter c to indicate that it is pronounced /s/ rather than /k/, as in Catalan força, French menaçant, and Portuguese almoço, and also used in various other languages to change the sounds of other letters.
cedilla f (plural cedillas)