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{{distinguish|Betta}}{{Redirect|β|the German eszett|ß|the Chinese radical|阝||Beta (disambiguation)}}{{refimprove|date=December 2012}}{{Greek Alphabet|letter=beta}}Beta ({{IPAc-en|UK|ˈ|b|iː|t|ə}}, {{IPAc-en|US|ˈ|b|eɪ|t|ə}}; uppercase {{Script|Grek|Β}}, lowercase {{Script|Grek|β}}, or cursive {{Script|Grek|ϐ}}; or {{transl|el|vita}}) is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 2. In Ancient Greek, beta represented the voiced bilabial plosive {{IPA|/b/}}. In Modern Greek, it represents the voiced labiodental fricative {{IPA|/v/}}. Letters that arose from beta include the Roman letter {{angle bracket|B}} and the Cyrillic letters {{angle bracket|Б}} and {{angle bracket|В}}.


Like the names of most other Greek letters, the name of beta was adopted from the acrophonic name of the corresponding letter in Phoenician, which was the common Semitic word *bait ('house'). In Greek, the name was bêta, pronounced {{IPA-el|bɛ̂ːta|}} in Ancient Greek. It is spelled βήτα in modern monotonic orthography and pronounced {{IPA-el|ˈvita|}}.


{{see also|Archaic Greek alphabets}}The letter beta was derived from the Phoenician letter bethbeth.The letter Î’ had the largest number of highly divergent local forms. Besides the standard form (either rounded or pointed, {{GrGl|Beta 16}}), there were forms as varied as {{GrGl|Beta 12}} (Gortyn), {{GrGl|Beta 01}} and {{GrGl|Beta 10}} (Thera), {{GrGl|Beta 03}} (Argos), {{GrGl|Beta 05}} (Melos), {{GrGl|Beta Corinth 1}} (Corinth), {{GrGl|Beta Byzantium 1}} (Megara, Byzantium), {{GrGl|Gamma C-shaped}} (Cyclades).{{sfn|Jeffery|1961|p=23}}


File:NAMA Alphabet grec.jpg -

Algebraic numerals

In the system of Greek numerals, beta has a value of 2. Such use is denoted by a number mark: Β′.


{{see also|Software release life cycle#Beta}}


Beta is used in finance as a measure of investment portfolio risk. Beta in this context is calculated as the covariance of the portfolio's returns with its benchmark's returns, divided by the variance of the benchmark's returns. A beta of 1.5 means that for every 1% change in the value of the benchmark, the portfolio's value changes by 1.5%.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, Greek minuscule beta denotes a voiced bilabial fricative {{ipa|[β]}}.A superscript version may also indicate a compressed vowel, like {{IPA|[ɯᵝ]}}.


The name Beta was used as a name during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season as Hurricane Beta.

Slang Terminology in Daily Speech

The term "Beta" has become a common adjective used in casual occasions to describe someone who is displaying behaviors that classify the persons as unremarkable and confrontational, often lacking charisma and confidence. It is often used in phrases such as "beta male," which is used to describe a person of the male gender who fails to assert any dominant "alpha actions" into their character, such as lurking a group chat online without participating or substantial lacking of social awareness. Example sentence: "That guy Aaron Ho over there is such a beta male. He packs no alpha energy. Just look at how awkward he is."

Mathematics and science

Beta is often used to denote a variable in mathematics and physics, where it often has specific meanings for certain applications. In physics a stream of unbound energetic electrons is commonly referred to as beta radiation or beta rays. In regression analysis, {{angle bracket|B}} symbolizes nonstandardized partial slope coefficients, whereas {{angle bracket|β}} represents standardized (standard deviation-score form) coefficients; in both cases, the coefficients reflect the change in the criterion Y per one-unit change in the value of the associated predictor X.β is sometimes used as a placeholder for an ordinal number if α is already used.In spaceflight, beta angle describes the angle between the orbit plane of a spacecraft or other body and the vector from the sun.

Rock climbing terminology

The term "beta" refers to advice on how to successfully complete a particular climbing route, boulder problem, or crux sequence.{{citation needed|date=January 2016}}


In statistics, beta may represent type II error, or regression slope.{{anchor|curled beta|Curled beta}}


In some high-quality typesetting, especially in the French tradition, a typographic variant of the lowercase letter without a descender is used within a word for ancient Greek: is printed .WEB, Haralambous, Yannis, From Unicode to typography, a case study: the Greek script,weblink PDF, 1999, 7, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-06-15, In typesetting technical literature, it is a commonly made mistake to use the German letter ß (a s–z or s–s ligature) as a replacement for β. The two letters resemble each other in some fonts, but they are unrelated.JOURNAL, Aguilar Ruiz, Manuel José, "Las normas ortográficas y ortotipográficas de la nueva Ortografía de la lengua española (2010) aplicadas a las publicaciones biomédicas en español: una visión de conjunto, Panace, 2013, 14, 37, 104,weblink

Videotape formats

"Beta" can be used to refer to several consumer and professional videotape formats developed by Japan's Sony Corporation. Although similarly named, they are very different in function and obsolescence.
  • Betamax was the name of a domestic videotape format developed in the 1970s and 1980s. It competed with the Video Home System (VHS) format developed by the Japanese Victor Company, to which it eventually succumbed. The Betamax format was also marketed Betacord by (Sanyo); some cassettes were simply labeled "Beta." Betamax lost in the market and is an oft-used example of a technically superior solution that failed due to market forces.
  • Betacam, including Beta SP and DigiBeta, is a family of professional videotape formats launched in 1982 that was the de facto standard for professional video, advertising, and television production through the 2000s. The formats outlasted analog NTSC television, and their scarcity today is because the industry has moved to HD formats.

Character encodings

  • Greek Beta
name1=Greek Capital Letter Betaname2=Greek Small Letter Betaname3=Greek Beta Symbolname4=Modifier Letter Small Betaname5=Greek Subscript Small Letter Betamap2char1=81|map2char2=99map3char1=A5|map3char2=D7map4char1=C2|map4char2=E2ref1char2=beta}}
  • Latin Beta
name1=Latin Capital Letter Betaname2=Latin Small Letter Beta}}
  • Mathematical Beta
name1=Mathematical BoldCapital Betaname2=Mathematical BoldSmall Betaname3=Mathematical ItalicCapital Betaname4=Mathematical ItalicSmall Betaname5=Mathematical Bold ItalicCapital Betaname6=Mathematical Bold ItalicSmall Beta}}{{charmapname1=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Capital Betaname2=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Small Betaname3=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Italic Capital Betaname4=Mathematical Sans-SerifBold Italic Small Beta}}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.



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