K, k

The eleventh letter of the English alphabet, deriving from the North Semitic kaph and the Greek kappa. Although the Romans borrowed the form of the "K" from the Etruscans, Latin had three letters corresponding to the "K" sound ("C," "K" and "Q") and consequently the "K" fell into disuse. It didn't reappear until after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, when it began to be used in place of the hard "C," especially to identify native words. (It replaced, among many other things, the "C" in "knife"—which was originally "cnif"—and was pronounced with the hard "C.")

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