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Tse (Cyrillic)

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Tse (Cyrillic)

Tse (Ц ц; italics: Ц ц) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.

It commonly represents the voiceless alveolar affricate /ts/, like the pronunciation of zz in "pizza".

In English, Tse is commonly romanized as ts. However, in proper names (personal names, toponyms, etc.) and titles it may also be rendered as c (which signifies the sound in Serbo-Croatian, Czech, Hungarian etc.), z (which signifies the sound in Italian and German), cz or tz.


Tse is thought to have come from the Hebrew letter Ṣade ��, via the Glagolitic letter Tsi Ⱌ.

The name of Tse in the Early Cyrillic alphabet is ци (tsi). New Church Slavonic and Russian spelling of the name is цы.

In the Cyrillic numeral system, Tse has a value of 900.



Tse is the 24th (if Yo is included) letter of the Russian alphabet. It is used both in native Slavic words (where it mostly corresponds to Proto-Indo-European *k in certain positions) and in borrowed words:

  • as a match for the Latin c in words of Latin origin, for example цирк (circus), центр (center),
  • for the German z and tz in words borrowed from German, for example цинк (Zink), плац (Platz),
  • ци may correspond to Latin ti (before vowels), for example сцинтилляция (scintillation).

Unlike most other consonants (but like ж and ш), ц never represents a palatalized consonant in Russian (except occasionally in foreign proper names with ця or цю). Since /i/ after unpalatalized consonants becomes [ɨ], the combinations ци and цы are pronounced identically: [tsɨ]. A notable rule of Russian orthography is that ц is seldom followed by ы, with the following exceptions:

  • the ending -ы of the plural number or of Genitive case (птица nom. sg. → птицы nom. pl. or gen. sg.),
  • possessive suffix -ин is spelled -ын after ц and only in this case: троицын, курицын,
    • the suffix is very popular in Russian last names, but the spelling varies and both -цын and -цин are possible, Ельцин is an example,
  • the ending of adjectives -ый (that becomes -ые, -ым, -ыми, -ых in declension), for example куцый or бледнолицый,
  • conjugation of a vulgar verb сцать (сцы, сцым, сцыт, сцыте, сцышь) and its prefixed derivatives,
  • only a few word roots contain цы now: цыган, цык- (цыкать, цыкнуть), цып- (цыплёнок, цыпки, цыпочки, цып-цып), цыц,
    • pre-1956 lists contain words such as цыбик, цыбуля, цыгарка, цыдулка, цыкля, цымбалы, цымес, цынга, цыновка, цынубель, цырюльня, цытварный, цыфирь, панцырь etc. (examples are taken from Ya. S. Khomutov's spelling dictionary, 1927; now all these words are spelled with -ци-),
  • Pinyin's ci becomes цы, and qi becomes ци.

Related letters and other similar characters

Computing codes

Character Ц ц
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1062 U+0426 1094 U+0446
UTF-8 208 166 D0 A6 209 134 D1 86
Numeric character reference Ц Ц ц ц
KOI8-R and KOI8-U 227 E3 195 C3
Code page 855 165 A5 164 A4
Code page 866 150 96 230 E6
Windows-1251 214 D6 246 F6
ISO-8859-5 198 C6 230 E6
Macintosh Cyrillic 150 96 246 F6

External links

  • The dictionary definition of Ц at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of ц at Wiktionary
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