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B, second letter of the English alphabet, can be traced back to ancient Semitic roots. The letter is believed to derive from the Maobite Stone hieroglyph, found in the present state of Jordan, dating from the 9th century B.C. The Hebrew letter beth, meaning “house,” and the Greek beta both come from this form. The Latin is virtually the same as the Greek, and it is this latter which is still used today. The lowercase b, a variant in which the upper loop has disappeared through the speed of writing, appeared in the Roman period.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Augusta to Barlach, Ernst