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Ƿ ƿ
(See below)
Writing cursive forms of Ƿ
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabetic and Logographic
Language of originOld English language
Phonetic usage[w]
Unicode codepointU+01F7, U+01BF
  • Ƿ ƿ
Time period~700 to ~1100
DescendantsꝨ ꝩ
Transliteration equivalentsw
Variations(See below)
Other letters commonly used withw
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.
This article contains runic characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of runes.
NameProto-GermanicOld English
ShapeElder FutharkFuthorc
Runic letter wunjo.svg
Position in
Wynn in the Hildebrandslied manuscript (830s): the text reads ƿiges ƿarne
Wynn in the Hildebrandslied manuscript (830s): the text reads ƿiges ƿarne
Capital wynn appears twice in this 10th century inscription in Breamore: her sƿutelað seo gecƿydrædnes ðe
Capital wynn appears twice in this 10th century inscription in Breamore: her sƿutelað seo gecƿydrædnes ðe

Wynn or wyn[1] (Ƿ ƿ; also spelled wen, ƿynn, and ƿen) is a letter of the Old English alphabet, where it is used to represent the sound /w/.


The letter "W"

While the earliest Old English texts represent this phoneme with the digraph ⟨uu⟩, scribes soon borrowed the rune wynn for this purpose. It remained a standard letter throughout the Anglo-Saxon era, eventually falling out of use (perhaps under the influence of French orthography) during the Middle English period, circa 1300.[2] It was replaced with ⟨uu⟩ once again, from which the modern ⟨w⟩ developed.


The denotation of the rune is "joy, bliss" known from the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poems:[3]

Ƿenne brūceþ, þe can ƿēana lyt
sāres and sorge and him sylfa hæf
blǣd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.

— Lines 22–24 in The Anglo-Saxon Runic Poem

Who uses it knows no pain,
sorrow nor anxiety, and he himself has
prosperity and bliss, and also enough shelter

— Translation slightly modified from Dickins (1915)


It is not continued in the Younger Futhark, but in the Gothic alphabet the letter 𐍅 w is called winja, allowing a Proto-Germanic reconstruction of the rune's name as *wunjô "joy".

It is one of the two runes (along with þ) to have been borrowed into the English alphabet (or any extension of the Latin alphabet). A modified version of the letter wynn called vend was used briefly in Old Norse for the sounds /u/, /v/, and /w/.

As with þ, the letter wynn was revived in modern times for the printing of Old English texts, but since the early 20th century the usual practice has been to substitute the modern ⟨w⟩.

Wynn in Unicode and HTML entities

Capital wynn (left), lowercase wynn (right)
Capital wynn (left), lowercase wynn (right)

Computing codes

Character information
Preview Ƿ ƿ
Encodings decimal hex dec hex
Unicode 503 U+01F7 447 U+01BF
UTF-8 199 183 C7 B7 198 191 C6 BF
Numeric character reference Ƿ Ƿ ƿ ƿ


  1. ^ "wyn". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Freeborn, Dennis (1992). From Old English to Standard English. London: MacMillan. p. 25. ISBN 9780776604695.
  3. ^ Dickins, Bruce (1915). Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 14-15.

See also