beta; B, β +

(Greek: B, β; second letter of the Greek alphabet and the second object in any order of arrangement or classification)

alphabet
1. A set of letters, usually listed in a fixed order, used in writing a language and representing its basic speech sounds; such as, the Cyrillic alphabet.
2. A set of symbols representing units used in communication; especially, speech sounds or words.

Word History

Just as English-speaking people refer to their A B C's, using the first three letters to mean the complete list, as a whole, so the Greeks used alpha and beta, their names for "a" and "b", the first two letters. The combination of these two, alpha + beta, is the origin of the English word alphabet.

—From Picturesque Word Origins; published by G & C. Merriam Company;
Springfield, Massachusetts; 1933; page 14.
alphabetarian
Someone who is learning his or her alphabet, or the mere rudiments of any subject; a beginner; an abecedarian.

Also, someone who studies alphabets.

alphabetical
1. Arranged or listed in the customary order of the letters of the alphabet.
2. Based on, typical of, or relating to an alphabet.
alphabetically
In an alphabetic manner or in the customary order of the letters "a" to "z".
alphabetization
Putting something in alphabetical order (customary order of the letters from "a" to "z").
alphabetize
1. To put in alphabetical order.
2. To express by or to furnish with an alphabet or with alphabetic symbols.
alphabetologist (s) (noun), alphabetologists (pl)
Someone who studies the science of letters of a language, arranged in the order fixed by custom, and the system of characters or symbols representing sounds or things.
alphabetology (s) (noun), alphabetologies (pl)
The study or science of character sets that include letters which are used to write languages.
analphabetic (adjective), more analphabetic, most analphabetic
A reference to the inability to read or to write: Mrs. Nelson was concerned about the analphabetic state of some of her students and so she created special lessons for them.
analphabetical
Illiterate.
beta brass
A type of brass containing nearly equal proportions of copper and zinc.
beta carotene
1. The isomeric form of carotene that is widely distributed in nature and most efficiently converted to vitamin A by the body.
2. A carotenoid precursor of vitamin A found in many fresh vegetables and fruits; an antioxidant that minimizes the damage caused by free radicals.
beta cell
1. Any of the insulin-producing cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
2. Any of the basophilic chromophil cells located in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.
Beta Centauri
The star Beta in the constellation of Centaurus.

One of the 20 brightest stars with 0.86 magnitude.

beta decay, beta disintegration
The radioactive decay of an atomic nucleus accompanied by emission of a beta particle.

Beta decay is the disintegration of the nucleus of an atom to produce a beta particle, or high-speed electron, and an electron-antineutrino.

During beta decay a neutron in the nucleus changes into a proton, thereby increasing the atomic number by one while the mass number stays the same.

—Information compiled from
Scientific American Science Desk Reference;
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; New York; 1999; page 125.

You can see all of the letters of the Greek Alphabet on this page.