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Delta (uppercase Δ, lowercase δ; δέλτα; Modern Greek ˈðelta dhélta) is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 4. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Dalet. Letters that come from delta include Latin D and Cyrillic Д.

A river delta (originally, the Nile River delta) is so named because its shape approximates the upper-case letter delta (the shape is a triangle).



In Ancient Greek, it represented a voiced dental plosive /d/. In Modern Greek, it represents a voiced dental fricative /ð/, like the "th" in "that" or "this". It is romanized as d or dh.

Math and science

Upper case

The upper-case letter Δ can be used to denote

  • Change any type; (in science and engineering fields)
  • Change; e.g. in
image:258380b09cfe5f0f1fe3dfaadd4eecdf.png, the average change of y per unit x, i.e. the change of y over the change of x
  • A macroscopic change in the value of a variable in mathematics or science
  • Uncertainty in a physical variable as seen in for instance the uncertainty principle
  • An interval of possible values for a given quantity for instance across a sample
  • Any of the delta particles in particle physics
  • The determinant of the matrix of coefficients of a set of linear equations (see Cramer's Rule)
  • That an associated locant number represents the location of a covalent bond in an organic compound, the position of which is variant between isomeric forms
  • In chemistry, it is often used to represent the addition of heat in a reaction.
  • In legal shorthand, it represents a defendant
  • In the financial markets, it is one of the Greeks that describes the rate of change of an option price for a given change in the underlying benchmark
  • It is the symbol of the Greek inventor and architect Daedalus
  • In genetics, it can stand for a gene deletion, e.g. the CCR5-Δ32 a deletion of the CCR5 at the 32nd base pair segment
  • The American Dental Association cites it (together with omicron for "odont") as the symbol of dentistry.[]

Lower case

The lower-case letter δ can be used to denote

See also


Majuscule form
Minuscule form

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