E THE fifth letter and second vowel of the Latin alphabet, and of those derived from it. It is both short and long, and in the Greek alphabet has two corresponding forms, (slender E), the fifth letter, and (long E), the seventh letter (but counting eight if the stigma be included). The short and long O, and are analogous to them.
Simonides is said to have formed the H by doubling the E thus E, the epsilon having before been both short and long. The H, however, was made by the Latins an aspirate, and was employed to represent the rough breathing, and the aspirate sound in
and X, as Homerus, Thales, Philon, Charon. The prototypes of the aspirated Greek letters in question are the Phoenician and Hebrew He and Chet. Indicating the most fleeting sound of the human voice, a mere breathing in many cases, the letter E is the basis of the vowel system and the most protean of all the vowels, as regards its shades of sound, its convertibility, the modes in which it is indicated in writing, and the uses that are made of it in various graphic systems. But few of its peculiarities can here be pointed out. In English it has five sounds, called long, short, open, obtuse, and obscure, respectively as in mete, met, there, her, and brier. The long English sound corresponds to the French and German I, while the French nasal E in em and en sounds like the English a in mart, and that in Men like the a in man ; and the sound of the French sharp E is represented in English by a, ai, ay, or ey, as in made, maid, say, and they.
In Hebrew it has two sounds; the open is noted by Tzere (break), or two horizontal dots under the consonant ; the close by Segol (grape) or three dots, and two kinds of Sheva (emptiness), or two vertical dots, the one movable (half mute), the other quiescent (mute). The long E is written AI in Moeso-Gothic. In Greek the long and short E ( and are both either open or close, but the latter is pronounced as I in Neo-Hellenic, Coptic, and Old Slavic. It is often a euphonic means for facilitating the utterance of words, as in establish, etablir, establecer, epice, espiritu, esprit, escribir, ecrire, estado, etat, estrella, etoile, Estevan, and Etienne. It is prefixed for other reasons in ecquis, and many other words. E frequently occurs instead of I in ancient Roman memorials, as on the columna rostrata of Duilius, on the tomb of the Scipios, and in manuscripts; thus, sebe, quase, maeester, fuet, for sibi, quasi, magister, fuit. In the Slavic it occupies, as jest, the sixth place of the Bukvitsa as well as of the Cyrillic scheme, and has two softening forms as finals (-er, -eri) toward the close of the alphabet. - Barrois asserts that E signifies one, since it is the initial of the Greek As an abbreviation, E stands for Ennius, eques Romanus, egregius, emeritus, ergo, editio, east, electricity, and excellence. The letters d. e. r. stand for de ea re; q. e. d. for quod erat demonstrandum; e. g. and e. c. for exempli gratia and exempli causa. In syllogisms, A = asserit, E = negat. On French coins it designates Tours; on those of Austria, Carlsburg in Transylvania; on those of Prussia, Konigsberg. In Greek, E has the value of 5, and with a mark below it, of 5,000. According to Baro-nius, it represented the number 250 in the period of the decline of classic literature. It denotes the third great interval in modern musical nomenclature, or the fifth string in the chromatic scale, and is called mi in vocal music.