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Dictionary of Audio Terminology - Greek Alphabet


Α – alpha - capital - First letter of the Greek alphabet, therefore takes on the meaning of first, best, primary, number one, etc. Used as an adjective as in alpha male or alpha version.

α – alpha - small – (1) In reference to mathematics, direct proportionality. (2) In reference to physics, angular acceleration. Alpha particle and alpha decay.

Β – beta - capital - Second letter of the Greek alphabet, therefore takes on the meaning of being next to first, or almost there, as in beta testing.

β – beta - small – (1) In reference to phonology, symbol for the voiced bilabial fricative [IPA]. (2) In reference to special relativity, the symbol for the speed of an object relative to the speed of light. (3) In reference to particle physics, the beta particle and beta decay.

Γ – gamma - capital – (1) In reference to electrical engineering, the symbol for the reflection coefficient. (2) In reference to mathematics, the gamma function, as related to factorials. (3) In reference to probability & statistics, the gamma distribution.


γ – gamma - small – (1) In reference to physics, the symbol for photon. Also symbol for adiabatic index of a gas. (2) In reference to astronomy, Gamma factor and gamma rays. (3) In reference to mathematics, the Symbol for the Euler-Mascheroni constant (sometimes shortened to Euler Constant).

Δ – delta - capital – (1) In reference to data converters, the Delta-Sigma conversion (Δ-process. A favorite audio data converter technology using a delta change as the heart of the process. (2) In reference to geography, the name for the triangular shape caused by sediment deposits at the mouth of a river. (3) In reference to physics, Delta particles in particle physics.

δ – delta - small – (1) In reference to calculus, the symbol used to represent a very small change in a value, often called a delta change; a finite increment in a variable. (2) In reference to mathematics, the symbol for the Dirac delta function (or just delta function) ; symbol for the Kronecker delta. (3) In reference to proofreading, the symbol for deletion.

Ε – epsilon - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "E."

ε – epsilon - small – (1) In reference to electrical engineering, the symbol for the permittivity constant. (2) In reference to mathematics, a very small quantity; in tensor calculus, the Levi-Civita symbol, also called the permutation symbol; set membership. (3) In reference to computer science, the symbol for an empty string.

Ζ – zeta - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "Z."

ζ – zeta - small – In reference to mathematics, the Riemann zeta function and other zeta functions.

Η – eta - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "H."

η – eta - small – (1) In reference to thermodynamics, the symbol for the efficiency of a Carnot heat engine. (2) In reference to physics, the symbol for refractive index of an optical medium.

Θ – theta - capital - Symbol for death since it is an abbreviation for the Greek word thanatos, meaning the personification of death.

θ – theta - small – (1) In reference to trigonometry, the symbol for an unknown angle. (2) In reference to geometry, the symbol for a plane angle. (3) In reference to phonology, the symbol for voiceless dental fricative [IPA].

Ι – iota - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "I."

ι – iota - small - The smallest letter in the Greek alphabet, hence the popular English usage to mean small, as in, "It doesn't matter one iota."

Κ – kappa - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "K."

κ – kappa - small – (1) In reference to physics, alternate symbol for adiabatic index of a gas. (2) In reference to mathematics, the Kappa Curve.

Λ – lambda - capital – (1) In reference to particle physics, the symbol for lambda particles.

λ – lambda - small – (1) In reference to electromagnetic waves, the symbol for wavelength. (2) In reference to mathematics, the symbol for eigen values in linear algebra.

Μ – mu - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "M."

μ – mu - small – (1) Symbol for micro- and micron. (2) In reference to statistics, the symbol for the mean. (3) In reference to physics, the symbol for coefficient of friction. (4) In reference to electromagnetism, the symbol for permeability.

Ν – nu - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "N."

ν – nu - small – (1) In reference to physics, the symbol for the frequency of a wave. (2) In reference to particle physics, the symbol for any of the three kinds of neutrinos.

Ξ – xi - capital – In reference to particle physics, the symbol for cascade particles.

ξ – xi - small – In reference to mathematics, the symbol for the Xi-Function.

Ο – omicron - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "O."

ο – omicron - small – Synonymous with above.

Π – pi - capital – In reference to mathematics, the symbol for product, as in multiplication.

π – pi - small - Symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter; a transcendental number, equal to approximately 3.14159. Note that the ratio of the circumference of an igloo to its diameter equals Eskimo Pi.

Ρ – rho - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "P."

ρ – rho - small – In reference to physics, the symbol for resistivity and density.

Σ – sigma - capital – (1) In reference to mathematics, the symbol for summation. (2) In reference to data converters, the Delta-Sigma conversion (Δ-Σ) process. A favorite audio data converter technology using delta change and summation.

σ – sigma - small – In reference to statistics, the symbol for the standard deviation.

Τ – tau - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "T."

τ – tau - small – (1) In reference to mechanics, the symbol for torque. (2) In reference to electronics, the symbol for the time-constant in an RC circuit.

Υ – upsilon - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "Y."

υ – upsilon - small - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "u."

Φ – phi - capital – In reference to physics, the symbol for magnetic flux.

φ – phi - small – (1) In reference to electronics, the symbol for phase or phase shift. (2) In reference to mathematics, the symbol for the number 1.618 ... the golden number.

Χ – chi - capital - Rarely seen since it is too close to the English letter "X."

χ – chi - small – (1) In reference to physics, the symbol for electric susceptibility. (2) In reference to phonology, the symbol for the voiceless uvular fricative [IPA].

Ψ – psi - capital - Rarely seen since it is difficult to distinguish between the capital and the small psi symbols.

ψ – psi - small – In reference to quantum mechanics, the symbol for the wave function. In reference to consumer audio, the symbol for psi-network.

Ω – omega - capital - (1) Symbol for ohm. (2) Last letter of the Greek alphabet so takes on the meaning of being last.

ω – omega - small - Symbol for angular velocity, i.e., frequency in radians/second = 2πf.





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