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In Mathematics, it is common to use $h$ for height in various languages, including those whose word for height does not start with h. Why is that?

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    $\begingroup$ A cursive search shows that, in German and French, it's been in use since at least 1904 (facsimile) and 1843 (facsimile), respectively (probably much longer). Also in Portuguese it's a very common notation, besides arguably old Greek: ῠ̔́ψος • (húpsos). $\endgroup$
    – stafusa
    Nov 6 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ Because notations are commonly imported from literature in the language dominant in the field at the time and then retained. Historically, it was Greek and Latin first, later French, German and English. When a prominent author uses a letter from non-native alphabet (like Cantor used Hebrew א), that too is retained. Height is not unique, and this is not specific to mathematics, $m$ for mass, $E$ for energy, etc., are used in physics across the board. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Nov 6 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ "Because notations are commonly imported from literature in the language dominant in the field at the time and then retained". For $h$ we have hauteur (French), Höhe (German), height (English). $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Nov 6 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ @njuffa, thank you very much for commenting. Though I believe you are right, French and German were dominant for a small time compared to Latin, so knowing when $h$ started to be used for height is essential to know if you're right. I may be wrong, but I think it is a weirdly hard question to answer — I am probably wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Schilive
    Nov 7 at 0:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Schilive "so knowing when $h$ started to be used for height is essential to know" What does your own research show in regard to this question? I would suggest adding that information to the question. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Nov 7 at 1:34

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