G was created out of C by adding an additional line, for an obvious reason as they represented similar sounds in Latin.

But why is Q pretty much O with an additional line? These two letter do not seem to have anything in common. Is it just a coincidence or they were somehow connected in old Latin?

  • 5
    For no reason, it is just a coincidence.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 25, 2015 at 23:43
  • 4
    The Latin Q comes from the Archaic Greek letter koppa, which looked like this: Ϙ. (Unicode: 03D8; UTF8: CF 98)
    – jlawler
    Sep 26, 2015 at 0:02

1 Answer 1


O is basically just a circle, so unlike with C/G, the visual similarity with Q is trivial. You could equally wonder if C being O with a chunk taken out has to do with anything.

Q and O derive from two different Phoenician letters, qop and ayin; back then, they actually did have something in common since both were "throaty" consonants; however, since the shape of the letters is ultimately hieroglyphic, the similarity is either accidental or — if we credit the theory that the hieroglyphic meaning of qop was "eye of a needle" — based on a real-world visual similarity, since ayin/O represented a (literal) eye.

  • 1
    Is it true that qop is thought to be related to "eye of a needle"? I would have suspected that it meant Monkey/Ape.
    – Mark D
    Feb 18, 2016 at 22:44
  • @MarkD Monkey/ape is the most widely accepted hypothesis AFAIK, but not the only one. Feb 19, 2016 at 6:19

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