The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
A \A\ (named [=a] in the English, and most commonly [aum] in
The first letter of the English and of many other alphabets.
The capital A of the alphabets of Middle and Western Europe,
as also the small letter (a), besides the forms in Italic,
black letter, etc., are all descended from the old Latin A,
which was borrowed from the Greek Alpha, of the same form;
and this was made from the first letter (?) of the
Ph[oe]nician alphabet, the equivalent of the Hebrew Aleph,
and itself from the Egyptian origin. The Aleph was a
consonant letter, with a guttural breath sound that was not
an element of Greek articulation; and the Greeks took it to
represent their vowel Alpha with the [aum] sound, the
Ph[oe]nician alphabet having no vowel symbols.
[1913 Webster] This letter, in English, is used for several
different vowel sounds. See Guide to pronunciation,
[sect][sect] 43-74. The regular long a, as in fate, etc., is
a comparatively modern sound, and has taken the place of
what, till about the early part of the 17th century, was a
sound of the quality of [aum] (as in far).
2. (Mus.) The name of the sixth tone in the model major scale
(that in C), or the first tone of the minor scale, which
is named after it the scale in A minor. The second string
of the violin is tuned to the A in the treble staff. -- A
sharp (A[sharp]) is the name of a musical tone
intermediate between A and B. -- A flat (A[flat]) is the
name of a tone intermediate between A and G.
A per se (L. per se by itself), one pre["e]minent; a
O fair Creseide, the flower and A per se
Of Troy and Greece. --Chaucer.