• A

    Pronunciation

    • letter name
      • UK IPA: /eɪ/
      • AusE IPA: /æɪ/
      • Rhymes: -eɪ
    • The current pronunciation resulted from the Great Vowel Shift. Before the early part of the 17th century, the pronunciation was similar to that in other languages.
    • phoneme IPA: /æ/, , , ...

    Origin 1

    From Middle English and Old English lower case letter a and split of Middle English and Old English lower case letter æ.

    • Old English lower case letter a from 7th century replacement by Latin lower case letter a of the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc letter (a, "āc"), derived from Runic letter (a, "Ansuz").
    • Old English lower case letter æ from 7th century replacement by Latin lower case ligature æ of the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc letter (æ, "æsc"), also derived from Runic letter (a, "Ansuz").

    Full definition of a

    Letter

    1. The first letter of the English alphabet, called a and written in the Appendix:Latin script

    Usage notes

    In English, the letter a usually denotes the near-open front unrounded vowel (IPA: /æ/), as in pad, the (IPA: /ɑː/) as in father, or, followed by another vowel, the diphthong IPA: /eɪ/, as in ace.

    a is the third-most common letter in English.

    Derived terms

    Cardinal number

    1. The ordinal number first, derived from this letter of the English alphabet, called a and written in the Appendix:Latin script

    Noun

    a

    (plural a's or as or aes)
    Gove, Philip Babcock, (1976)
    1. The name of the Appendix:Latin script

    Pronunciation

    • stressed IPA: /eɪ/
    • unstressed IPA: /ə/

    Origin 2

    Middle English, from Old English ān ("one, a, lone, sole"). The "n" was gradually lost before consonants in almost all dialects by the 15th century.

    Article

    1. One; any indefinite example of; used to denote a singular item of a group. First attested prior to 1150There was a man here looking for you yesterday.
      • Schuster Hepaticae V|viiWith fresh material, taxonomic conclusions are leavened by recognition that the material examined reflects the site it occupied; a herbarium packet gives one only a small fraction of the data desirable for sound conclusions. Herbarium material does not, indeed, allow one to extrapolate safely: what you see is what you get...
      • 2005, Emily Kingsley (lyricist), Kevin Clash (voice actor), “A Cookie is a Sometime Food”, Sesame Street, season 36, Sesame Workshop:Hoots the Owl: Yes a, fruit, is a , any, time, food!
    2. Used in conjunction with the adjectives score, dozen, hundred, thousand, and million, as a function word.I've seen it happen a hundred times.
    3. One certain or particular; any single. First attested between around 1150 to 1350
    Brown, Lesley, (2003)
    1. We've received an interesting letter from a Mrs. Miggins of London.
    2. The same; one. 16th CenturyWe are of a mind on matters of morals.
    3. Any, every; used before a noun which has become modified to limit its scope; also used with a negative to indicate not a single one.
    Lindberg, Christine A. (2007)
    1. A man who dies intestate leaves his children troubles and difficulties.He fell all that way, and hasn't a bump on his head?
    2. Used before plural nouns modified by few, good many, couple, great many, etc.
    3. Someone or something like; similar to;
    Used before a proper noun to create an example out of it.
    1. The center of the village was becoming a Times Square.

    Usage notes

    The article an is used before vowel sounds, and a before consonant sounds.

    Pronunciation

    • IPA: /ə/

    Origin 3

    • From Middle English a, o, from Old English a-, an, on.
    • Unstressed form of on.

    Preposition

    1. (archaic) To do with position or direction; In, on, at, by, towards, onto. First attested before 1150Stand a tiptoe.
    2. To do with separation; In, into. First attested before 1150Torn a pieces.
    3. To do with time; Each, per, in, on, by. First attested before 1150I brush my teeth twice a day.
      • 1601, Shakespeare, Hamlet, IV-vA Sundays
    4. (obsolete) To do with method; In, with. First attested before 1150
      • Marlowe, C.Stands here a purpose.
    5. (obsolete) To do with role or capacity; In. First attested before 1150A God’s name.
    6. To do with status; In. First attested before 1150
      • BibleTo set the people a worke.
    7. (archaic) To do with process, with a passive verb; In the course of, experiencing. First attested before 1150
      • 1964, Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin’The times, they are a-changin'.
    8. (archaic) To do with an action, an active verb; Engaged in. 16th century
      • unknown date ShakespeareIt was a doing.
      • 1611, King James Bible, Hebrews 11-21''Jacob, when he was a dying
    9. (archaic) To do with an action/movement; To, into. 16th century

    Usage notes

    (position, direction) Can also be attached without a hyphen, as aback, ahorse, afoot. See a-

    (separation) Can also be attached without hyphen, as asunder. See a-

    (status) Can also be attached without hyphen, as afloat, awake. See a-.

    (process) Can also be attached with or without hyphen, as a-changing

    Pronunciation

    • IPA: /ə/

    Origin 4

    From Middle English a, ha contraction of have, or haven

    Alternative forms

    Verb

    1. (have) (archaic or slang) Have. between 1150 and 1350, continued in some use until 1650; used again after 1950I'd a come, if you'd a asked
      • 1604 (facsimile printed between 1830 and 1910), William Shakespeare, :So would I a done by yonder ſunneAnd thou hadſt not come to my bed.

    Derived terms

    Derived terms

    Usage notes

    Now often attached to preceding auxiliary verb. See -a.

    Pronunciation

    • PR IPA: /ə/
    • (it) PR IPA: /ə/, /ɑ/

    Origin 5

    • (he) From Middle English a, ha ("he"), unstressed variant of he, from Old English .
    • (she) From Middle English a, ha, unstressed variant of heo, hie, hi, from Old English hēo, hīo, feminine of ("he").
    • (they) From Middle English a, ha, unstressed variant of hie, hi, from Old English hīe, plural of ("he").
    • (it) From Middle English a, ha, unstressed variant of he, heo, from Old English hit ("it").
    • (I) From Middle English variant of the word I.

    Alternative forms

    Pronoun

    a

    1. (obsolete except British, Scotland, dialectal) He. 1150-1900
      • 1599, Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, III-ii:a’ brushes his hat o’ mornings.
      • 1874 Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (Barnes & Noble Classics reprint reset, 2005, chapter 5, page 117; from "Hardy's 1912 Wessex edition"):"And how Farmer James would cuss, and call thee a fool, wouldn't he, Joseph, when 'a seed his name looking so inside-out-like?" continued Matthew Moon, with feeling.
        "Ay — 'a would," said Joseph meekly.

    Pronunciation

    • IPA: /ə/, /ɑː/

    Origin 6

    Variant spelling of ah.

    Interjection

    1. A meaningless syllable; ah.
      • unknown date Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, IV-iii:A merry heart goes all the dayYour sad tires in a mile-a
      • unknown date Avery, I Love to Singa:I love to sing-aAbout the moon-a and the June-a and the Spring-a.

    Pronunciation

    • US IPA: /ə/

    Origin 7

    From Middle English, contraction of of.

    Preposition

    preposition

    1. (archaic, slang) Of.The name of John a Gaunt.
    YouTube video with lyrics

    Usage notes

    Often attached without a hyphen to preceding word.

    Pronunciation

    • RP IPA: /ɔ/

    Origin 8

    From Middle English (Northern dialect) aw, alteration of all.

    Alternative forms

    Adverb

    a

    1. (chiefly Scotland) All. First attested from 1350 to 1470.

    Adjective

    a

    1. (chiefly Scotland) All. First attested from 1350 to 1470.

    Origin 9

    Symbols

    Symbol

    symbol

    1. Distance from leading edge to aerodynamic center.
    2. specific absorption coefficient
    3. specific rotation
    4. allele (recessive)
    © Wiktionary