Can You Identify All of These Calligraphy Letters?

By: Teresa McGlothlin
Image: Randall Fung / duncan1890 / Corbis / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Although calligraphy might just look like fancy letters, it has a long history. From the Ancient Chinese to modern uses, calligraphy forces the eye to observe the aesthetic of a letter rather than the meaning of the letter. Throughout this quiz, we want to see how many letters your eyes will be able to identify. 

Unlike now, unique handwriting skills held a valuable place in society. Individualized takes on calligraphy and handwriting made documents harder to forge before the use of copy machines. As we go through this quiz, we are going to present you with 40 photos of beautifully written uppercase and lowercase letters. Do you think you'll be able to identify all of them? 

When you see the letter we have presented, take a moment to make sure you know what it is before you make your selection. The furthest thing from typeface, calligraphy letters might take a little study to get them right. Unless you've practiced your calligraphy skills recently, you might find some of the letters you see a little challenging to identify. However, you will enjoy learning the tidbits about the history of letters once you answer. How well will you do with letters written in calligraphy? Now's your chance to find out. 

If you wanted to mark a spot, you might want to use the uppercase version. In any event, the calligraphy letter pictured here is the lowercase x.

At one point in time, Benjamin Franklin wanted to ban certain letters of the alphabet. Including the letter Q like the one seen here, Franklin also proposed getting rid of the J, W, C, and the X. He planned to replace him with letters of his own creation.

Until the early 1800s, the letter S resembled a lowercase F. It was called the "long s," and you can see it used in many historical manuscripts, including the American Bill of Rights.

When written in calligraphy, the letter D looks rather elegant. As the fourth letter in the conventional alphabet, the letter D was one of only 24 letters in the Elizabethan alphabet.

Did you know that very few letters are actually used to start words in pairs of two? Although the letters L, A, and E are also frequently doubled, the letter O like the one seen here holds the record as the letter with the most double started words in the English language.

The letter J holds a special distinction. It was the last letter added to the modern English alphabet. Additionally, J is only one of two letters that does not appear on the periodic table - the letter Q is also missing.

In Roman numerals, the letter L is used to represent the number 50. Because they feared bad publicity for using the L as a symbol for the 50th Super Bowl, the NFL decided against using it because it represents the word loser.

When you see the letter M in Roman numerals, it represents the number 1,000. If you were to turn this M upside down, you would have a W.

Although there are dozens of letters that you can use to spell numbers, B is one of the rarest. You will not encounter a B in a number sequence until you reach at least 1 billion.

Until the Romans separated the letters, both the C like the one pictured here, and the G were one letter. It was a letter used by the Phoenicians to represent a camel.

The Phoenicians used the letter X to represent fish. Although it's a member of the alphabet now, Descartes is cited as being the first person to introduce the use of the letter in mathematics.

Sometimes called a semivowel, the letter Y can be used as both a consonant and a vowel. It stands at the end of the English alphabet between the letters Z and X.

The uppercase version of the letter M seen here is the Roman numeral for the number 1,000. You probably already knew that, but did you know that the letter M is the only letter of the alphabet that requires you to touch your lips to say?

According to Merriam-Webster, the letter V is the only letter that is never silent. The first instance of the letter V and the letter U being used separately occurred in a Gothic script from 1386.

During the times of ancient Romans, they did not have a symbol to represent the letter W. Instead, the would write "uu." Now you know why we call it double-u.

Although the letter L is the 13th letter of the English alphabet, it was the 12th letter in the Roman alphabet. It is also the Roman numeral that symbolizes the number 50.

If you turn the letter A upside down, you will see the way ancient Egyptians used to write it. They used it as a symbol to represent a bull with horns.

The letter Q makes an appearance in the English language on average every 510 letters. It is considered the most rarely used member of the alphabet.

Once the mark of Zorro, the letter Z has an interesting history. Although it is the last member of the English alphabet, it stood at a respectable number seven when it appeared in the Greek alphabet.

The letter E is quite popular. In fact, it appears in more than 10 percent of all English words. According to research, the letter E is used 56 more times than the letter Q.

P is an often under-praised letter of the alphabet. In addition to its unique sound, the letter P is the only letter in the English language that can sandwich any vowel and create a new word.

The letter H was once considered a letter of the lower class in British society. In fact, the pronunciation of the letter H still varies all over the British Isles and some dialects have eliminated it completely.

Although you see the uppercase version of the letter I here, the lowercase version has something in common with the letter J. The little dot found on both when written in lowercase is called a tittle. No other letters in the alphabet have a tittle.

The letter K is the 11th letter of the alphabet. In spiritual circles, it is said to represent your path with your reality. In the early days of baseball, the letter K was used to indicate a strikeout.

In the English language, the letter T is the most often used consonant. Standing in the number 20 position in the alphabet, T is also the second most common letter used in modern writing.

Because of the growling dog sound Romans produced when pronouncing the letter R, it is sometimes called the "litteria canina." When translated, it means the letter of the dogs.

During Phoenician times, the letter N evolved into the Aramaic word for fish. In fact, the shape of the letter N was made to mirror the shape of crashing waves.

These days, we associate the letter F with a bad grade. Before 1898, the letter E was used instead, but educators felt that the letter F was a much stronger statement because it means "failed."

Until 1557, the letters U and V were used interchangeably. The letter U like the one pictured here finally got its own identity as a vowel when a French education reformer thought it made more sense.

As the first letter of the alphabet, the A has an important job. Additionally, it is only one of four letters that can be doubled to start unique words. The only other letters with the same distinction are E, O, and L.

Also called a superscript dot, the dot on top of the lowercase I is sometimes called a tittle. The lowercase J is the only other letter to have this important feature.

The letter D is often associated with the words doom and disaster. However, in military operations, the letter D is simply short for "day."

Standing in line at the seventh position of the alphabet, the letter G can easily be confused for the letter C. In fact, they were considered the same letter until the early Romans gave it the little crossbar to separate the two.

Without the letter E, we wouldn't be able to spell many words in the English language. The letter E is the most frequently used letter in the English language.

The letter L is the 11th letter in the English alphabet.

If the curly end on the lowercase Q were turned the other way, it would be a G. You can give credit to ancient Romans for adding the little kick at the bottom of the letter.

In musical circles, the symbol meaning flat almost resembles the letter B like the one seen here. When it comes to numbers, the letter B is the least used letter.

Before it was changed, the lowercase S used to resemble the letter F like the one seen here. The only difference is the horizontal line running through the letter F.

With its semi-circles on both the top and the bottom, the letter S holds the 19th place in the alphabet. Depending on penmanship, the only difference between the upper and lowercase S is the size.

Invented by an Italian in 1524, the letter J is the 10th letter in the English alphabet. It is only one of two letters that do not appear on the periodic table of elements.

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