Chi (letter)

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Template:Pp-semi-indef Template:Sister

Chi uc lc.svg
Greek alphabet
Αα Alpha Νν Nu
Ββ Beta Ξξ Xi
Γγ Gamma Οο Omicron
Δδ Delta Ππ Pi
Εε Epsilon Ρρ Rho
Ζζ Zeta Σσς Sigma
Ηη Eta Ττ Tau
Θθ Theta Υυ Upsilon
Ιι Iota Φφ Phi
Κκ Kappa Χχ Chi
Λλ Lambda Ψψ Psi
Μμ Mu Ωω Omega
Archaic local variants
  • Digamma
  • Heta
  • San
  • Koppa
  • Sampi
  • Tsan
ϛ (6)
ϟ (90)
ϡ (900)
In other languages
Scientific symbols


Chi (uppercase Χ, lowercase χ; Greek: χῖ{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}) is the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet, pronounced Template:IPAc-en or Template:IPAc-en in English.


The Greek alphabet on a black figure vessel, with a cross-shaped chi.


Ancient Greek

Its value in Ancient Greek was an aspirated velar stop /kʰ/ (in the Western Greek alphabet: /ks/).

Koine Greek

In Koine Greek and later dialects it became a fricative ([x] / [ç]) along with Θ and Φ.

Modern Greek

In Modern Greek, it has two distinct pronunciations: In front of high or front vowels (/e/ or /i/) it is pronounced as a voiceless palatal fricative [ç], as in German ich or like the h in some pronunciations of the English words hew and human. In front of low or back vowels (/a/, /o/ or /u/) and consonants, it is pronounced as a voiceless velar fricative ([x]), as in German ach.


Chi is Romanized as ch in most systematic transliteration conventions, but sometimes kh is used.[1] In addition, in Modern Greek, it is often also Romanized as h or x in informal practice.

Greek numeral

In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 600.


In ancient times, some local forms of the Greek alphabet used the chi instead of xi to represent the /ks/ sound. This was borrowed into the early Latin language, which led to the use of the letter X for the same sound in Latin, and many modern languages that use the Latin alphabet.


Chi was also included in the Cyrillic script as the letter Х, with the phonetic value /x/ or /h/.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the minuscule chi is the symbol for the voiceless uvular fricative.


Chi is the basis for the name Chiastic structure and the name of Chiasmus.


In Plato's Timaeus, it is explained that the two bands that form the soul of the world cross each other like the letter Χ.

Chi or X is often used to abbreviate the name Christ, as in the holiday Christmas (Xmas). When fused within a single typespace with the Greek letter Rho, it is called the labarum and used to represent the person of Jesus Christ.

Character Encodings

  • Greek Chi

Template:Charmap [2]

  • Coptic Khi


  • Mathematical Chi



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.

Math and science

In statistics, the term chi-squared or has various uses, including the chi-squared distribution, the chi-squared test, and chi-squared target models.

In algebraic topology, Chi is used to represent the Euler characteristic of a surface.

In neurology, the optic chiasm is named for the letter Chi because of its Χ-shape.[3]

In chemistry, the mole fraction[4][5] and electronegativity[6] may be denoted by the lowercase .

In rhetoric, both chiastic structure (a literary device) and the figure of speech Chiasmus derive from their names from the shape of the letter Chi.

In engineering, chi is used as a symbol for the reduction factor of relevant buckling loads in the EN 1993, a European Standard for the design of steel structures.

In graph theory, a lowercase chi is used to represent a graph's chromatic number.

See also


  1. Encyclopedia Britannica
  2. Unicode Code Charts: Greek and Coptic (Range: 0370-03FF)
  3. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  4. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  5. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  6. Template:GoldBookRef