au (uppercase Τ, lowercase τGreekταυ [taf]) is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 300.
The name in English is pronounced /t/ or /tɔː/,[1] but in modern Greek it is [taf].[2][3] This is because the pronunciation of the combination of Greek letters αυ has changed from ancient to modern times from one of [au] to either [av] or [af], depending on what follows (see Greek orthography).
Tau was derived from the Phoenician letter taw Phoenician taw.svg (𐤕).[4] Letters that arose from tau include Roman T and Cyrillic Te (Т, т).
The letter occupies the Unicode slots U+03C4 (lowercase) and U+03A4 (uppercase). In HTML, they can be produced with named entities(τ and Τ), decimal references (τ and Τ), or hexadecimal references (τ and Τ).

Modern usage[edit]

The lower-case letter τ is used as a symbol for:





  • In ancient times, tau was used as a symbol for life or resurrection, whereas the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, theta, was considered the symbol of death.
  • In Biblical times, the taw was put on men to distinguish those who lamented sin, although newer versions of the Bible have replaced the ancient term taw with mark (Ezekiel 9:4) or signature (Job 31:35). Its original sound value is a voiceless alveolar plosive, IPA /t/
  • The symbolism of the cross was connected not only to the letter chi but also to tau, the equivalent of the last letter in the Phoenician and Old Hebrew alphabets, and which was originally cruciform in shape; see Cross of Tau
  • An essay written around 160 AD, attributed to Lucian, a mock legal prosecution called The Consonants at Law - Sigma vs. Tau, in the Court of the Seven Vowels, contains a reference to the cross attribution. Sigma petitions the court to sentence Tau to death by crucifixion, saying:
    Men weep, and bewail their lot, and curse Cadmus with many curses for introducing Tau into the family of letters; they say it was his body that tyrants took for a model, his shape that they imitated, when they set up structures on which men are crucified. Stauros (cross) the vile engine is called, and it derives its vile name from him. Now, with all these crimes upon him, does he not deserve death, nay, many deaths? For my part I know none bad enough but that supplied by his own shape — that shape which he gave to the gibbet named stauros after him by men
  • Tau is usually considered as the symbol of Franciscan orders due to St. Francis' love for it, symbol of the redemption and of the Cross. Almost all Franciscan churches have painted a tau with two crossing arms, both with stigmata, the one of Jesus and the other of Francis; usually members of the Secular Franciscan Order wear a wooden τ in a string with three knots around the neck

Character encodings[edit]

For the Greek and Coptic letter tau:[16]
Unicode namegreek capital letter taugreek small letter taucoptic capital letter taucoptic small letter tau
UTF-8206 164CE A4207 132CF 84226 178 166E2 B2 A6226 178 167E2 B2 A7
Numeric character referenceΤΤττⲦⲦⲧⲧ
Named character referenceΤτ
DOS Greek14793171AB
DOS Greek-2208D0238EE
Windows 1253212D4244F4
For the mathematical letter tau:[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]
Unicode namemathematical bold
capital tau
mathematical bold
small tau
mathematical italic
capital tau
mathematical italic
small tau
mathematical bold italic
capital tau
mathematical bold italic
small tau
UTF-8240 157 154 187F0 9D 9A BB240 157 155 149F0 9D 9B 95240 157 155 181F0 9D 9B B5240 157 156 143F0 9D 9C 8F240 157 156 175F0 9D 9C AF240 157 157 137F0 9D 9D 89
UTF-1655349 57019D835 DEBB55349 57045D835 DED555349 57077D835 DEF555349 57103D835 DF0F55349 57135D835 DF2F55349 57161D835 DF49
Numeric character reference𝚻𝚻𝛕𝛕𝛵𝛵𝜏𝜏𝜯𝜯𝝉𝝉
Unicode namemathematical sans-serif
bold capital tau
mathematical sans-serif
bold small tau
mathematical sans-serif
bold italic capital tau
mathematical sans-serif
bold italic small tau
UTF-8240 157 157 169F0 9D 9D A9240 157 158 131F0 9D 9E 83240 157 158 163F0 9D 9E A3240 157 158 189F0 9D 9E BD
UTF-1655349 57193D835 DF6955349 57219D835 DF8355349 57251D835 DFA355349 57277D835 DFBD
Numeric character reference𝝩𝝩𝞃𝞃𝞣𝞣𝞽𝞽
These characters are used only as mathematical symbols. Stylized Greek text should be encoded using the normal Greek letters, with markup and formatting to indicate text style.


  1. Jump up to:a b c The date given on the source is after that of the archive. This is because the original publishing date is unknown, so the latest update date is stated instead.
  2. ^ The archived version of this source may take a few minutes to render the TeX math codes properly.


  1. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries Online". Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Gaifyllia, Nancy (10 Oct 2016). "The Greek Alphabet"The SpruceArchived from the original on 28 Oct 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  3. ^ UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems (1 Mar 2016). "UN Romanization of Greek for Geographical Names (1987)"Institute of the Estonian LanguageArchived from the original on 18 Oct 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  4. ^ Panse, Sonal (1 May 2012). Finn, Wendy (ed.). "The Greek Alphabet: Where did It Come From & How Did It Become Modern Greek?"Bright Hub EducationArchived from the original on 22 Dec 2016. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  5. ^ McPeak, John (10 Jun 2010). "McPeak, Lecture 4"Syracuse UniversityArchived from the original on 10 Jun 2010. Retrieved 27 Oct 2017.
  6. ^ MJ, Shelton; MB, Wire; Y, Lou; B, Adamkiewicz; SS, Min (Mar 2016). "Pharmacokinetic and safety evaluation of high-dose combinations of fosamprenavir and ritonavir"Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy50 (3): 928–934. doi:10.1128/AAC.50.3.928-934.2006PMC 1426463PMID 16495253.
  7. ^ C, González; G, Farías; RB, Maccioni (1 Nov 1998). "Modification of tau to an Alzheimer's type protein interferes with its interaction with microtubules". Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand)44 (7): 1117–1127. PMID 9846894 – via EuropeMC.
  8. ^ M, Sjögren; E, Englund (2004). "Negative neurofilament light and tau immunostaining in frontotemporal dementia". Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders17 (4): 346–349. doi:10.1159/000077169PMID 15178951.
  9. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. (27 Oct 2017). "Divisor Function"MathWorld --A Wolfram Web ResourceArchived from the original on 29 Jun 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  10. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. (27 Oct 2017). ""Golden Ratio.""Mathworld -- A Wolfram Web ResourceArchived from the original on 22 Aug 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  11. ^ Ghent, A. W. (June 1963). "Kendall's "Tau" Coefficient as an Index of Similarity in Comparisons of Plant or Animal Communities"The Canadian Entomologist95 (6): 568–575. doi:10.4039/ent95568-6 – via Cambridge University Press.
  12. ^ Lowther, George (23 Nov 2009). "Sigma Algebras at a Stopping Time"Almost Sure at WordpressArchived from the original on 21 Dec 2016. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  13. ^ Bartholomew, Randyn (25 Jun 2014). "Why Tau Trumps Pi"Scientific AmericanArchived from the original on 8 Sep 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct 2017.
  14. ^ Hartl, Michael (28 Jun 2010). "The Tau Manifesto"Tau DayArchived from the original on 7 Oct 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct2017.
  15. ^ Weisstein, Eric W. (27 Oct 2017). "Torsion -- From WolframMathWorld - a Wolfram Web Resource"Wolfram MathWorldArchived from the original on 29 Aug 2017. Retrieved 28 Oct2017.
  16. ^ Unicode code charts: Greek and Coptic (Range: 0370-03FF)
  17. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL BOLD CAPITAL TAU' (U+1D6BB)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  18. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL BOLD SMALL TAU' (U+1D6D5)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  19. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL ITALIC CAPITAL TAU' (U+1D6F5)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  20. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL ITALIC SMALL TAU' (U+1D70F)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  21. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL TAU' (U+1D72F)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  22. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC SMALL TAU' (U+1D749)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  23. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD CAPITAL TAU' (U+1D769)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  24. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD SMALL TAU' (U+1D783)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  25. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL TAU' (U+1D7A3)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  26. ^ "Unicode Character 'MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD ITALIC SMALL TAU' (U+1D7BD)"www.fileformat.info. Retrieved 2017-10-28.


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