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Y , y , a Greek letter introduced at a late period for words borrowed from the Greek, the place of the Greek Υ being previously filled by U (i. e. V, which graphically originated from Υ; v. the letters U and V). Thus, according to the express testimony of Cicero (Or. 48, 160), Ennius always wrote Burrus for Pyrrhus, and Bruges for Phryges; and so the words which were identical in Greek and Latin in the oldest period of the language have either preserved
I.u where the Greek has υ, as bucina and βυκάνη, cubus and κύβος, fuga and φυγή, mus and μῦς et saep.; or this u has given place to i, as in lacrima, formerly lacruma, = δάκρυμα. Sometimes, also, o took the place of the υ; cf. mola and μύλη, sorex and ὕραξ, folium and φύλλον, and, shortening a long vowel, ancŏra and ἄγκυρα, like lacrĭma and δάκρῦμα. In Cicero's time y seems to have been already in use; but its application was restricted to foreign words, and hence the spellings Sylla, Tybris, pyrum, satyra, etc., are to be rejected.
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