A

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A, the first letter of the English and most other alphabets, is frequently used as an abbreviation, (q.v.) and also in the marks of schedules or papers, as schedule A, B, C, &c. Among the Romans this letter was used in criminal trials. The judges were furnished with small tables covered with wax, and each one inscribed on it the initial letter of his vote; A, when he voted to absolve the party on trial; C, when he was for condemnation; and N L, (non liquet) when the matter did not appear clearly, and be desired a new argument.

References in classic literature ?
Just then, as he rounded a sharp turn, the Straw man stopped so suddenly that all the others bumped against him.
The Ass replied that passing through a hedge he had trod with his foot upon a sharp thorn.
But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders.
Besides that, to have two bits instead of one -- and mine was a sharp one, it hurt my tongue and my jaw, and the blood from my tongue colored the froth that kept flying from my lips as I chafed and fretted at the bits and rein.
Moreover, just as Pierre was speaking a sharp rattle of drums was suddenly heard from both sides.