I (ī), pron.
[poss. My (mī) or Mine
(mīn); object. Me (mē).
pl. nom. We (wē);
poss. Our (our) or
Ours (ourz); object.
Us (ŭs).] [OE. i, ich,
ic, AS. ic; akin to OS. & D. ik, OHG. ih,
G. ich, Icel. ek, Dan. jeg, Sw. jag,
Goth. ik, OSlav. az', Russ. ia, W. i, L.
ego, Gr. 'egw`, 'egw`n, Skr.
aham. √179. Cf. Egoism.] The nominative
case of the pronoun of the first person; the word with which a
speaker or writer denotes himself.
I (ī). 1. I, the ninth letter
of the English alphabet, takes its form from the Phœnician,
through the Latin and the Greek. The Phœnician letter was
probably of Egyptian origin. Its original value was nearly the same
as that of the Italian I, or long e as in mete.
Etymologically I is most closely related to e, y,
j, g; as in dint, dent, beverage,
L. bibere; E. kin, AS. cynn; E. thin, AS.
þynne; E. dominion, donjon,
In English I has two principal vowel sounds: the long sound, as in
pīne, īce; and the short sound, as in
pĭn. It has also three other sounds: (a) That of
e in term, as in thirst. (b) That of
e in mete (in words of foreign origin), as in
machine, pique, regime. (c) That of
consonant y (in many words in which it precedes another
vowel), as in bunion, million, filial,
Christian, etc. It enters into several digraphs, as in
fail, field, seize, feign. friend;
and with o often forms a proper diphtong, as in oil,
See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 98-106.
The dot which we place over the small or lower case i dates
only from the 14th century. The sounds of I and J were originally
represented by the same character, and even after the introduction of
the form J into English dictionaries, words containing these letters
were, till a comparatively recent time, classed together.
2. In our old authors, I was often
used for ay (or aye), yes, which is pronounced nearly
3. As a numeral, I stands for 1, II for 2,