Vita (letter)

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Vita (uppercase Β, lowercase β, internal ϐ) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. In high-quality print, the variant of the lowercase letter without a descender is used within a word: βίβλος is printed |βίϐλος. The form ‹ϐ› is very common in handwriting.

The name of the letter is pronounced /ˈbeɪtə/ (US) or /ˈbiːtə/ (UK), and in Greek βήτα ˈvita.

In the system of Greek numerals Beta has a value of 2.



The letter Beta was derived from the Phoenician letter Beth Beth. Letters that arose from Beta include the Roman letter ‹B› and the Cyrillic letters ‹Б› and ‹В›.


Ancient Greek

In Ancient Greek, Beta represented the voiced bilabial plosive /b/. The name of the letter, βῆτα bêta, was pronounced bɛ̂ːta.

Modern Greek

In Modern Greek, Beta represents the voiced labiodental fricative v/. The name of the letter is spelled βήτα in the modern monotonic orthography, and pronounced ˈvita.

Math and science

Beta is often used to denote a variable in mathematics and physics, where it often has specific meanings for certain applications, such as representing beta radiation. In regression analysis, ‹B› symbolizes non-standardized partial slope coefficients, whereas ‹β› represents standardized (standard deviation-score form) coefficients; in both cases, the coefficients reflect the change in the criterion Y per one-unit change in the value of the associated predictor X.


Beta is used in finance as a measure of investment portfolio risk.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, Greek minuscule beta denotes a voiced bilabial fricative [β].

Majuscule form
Minuscule form

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