this letter group can represent five distinct sounds in English; it first was used by Middle English writers to render Old English sc-, the pronunciation of which then simplified to "-sh-" (an evolution that also took place in Middle Dutch and Middle High German). Sometimes it was miswritten for -ch-. It also was taken in from German (schnapps) and Yiddish (schlemiel). In words derived from classical languages, it represents Latin sch-, Greek skh- but in some of these words the English spelling is a restoration and the pronunciation does not follow it (cf. schism).

Nearby words

  1. -san,
  2. -sarc,
  3. -saur,
  4. -saurus,
  5. -scape,
  6. -scope,
  7. -scopy,
  8. -seater,
  9. -sect,
  10. -sepalous

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper