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 ?
It had been buried under two or three feet of soil and the spot covered with a layer of dead leaves and twigs.
When Jurgis lifted up the mattress he discovered beneath it a layer of scurrying roaches, almost as badly frightened as himself.
First you wrap a layer or two of blanket around your body, for a sort of cushion and to keep off the cold iron; then you put on your sleeves and shirt of chain mail -- these are made of small steel links woven together, and they form a fabric so flexible that if you toss your shirt onto the floor, it slumps into a pile like a peck of wet fish-net; it is very heavy and is nearly the uncomfortablest material in the world for a night shirt, yet plenty used it for that -- tax collectors, and reformers, and one-horse kings with a defective title, and those sorts of people; then you put on your shoes -- flat-boats roofed over with interleaving bands of steel -- and screw your clumsy spurs into the heels.