World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0001769105
Reproduction Date:

Title: Heth  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Phoenician alphabet, Syriac alphabet, Romanization of Hebrew, Geresh, Biblical Hebrew
Collection: Arabic Letters, Hebrew Alphabet, Phoenician Alphabet
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


ħ / χ / x
Position in alphabet 8
Numerical value 8
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Ḥet or H̱et (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the eighth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ḥēt , Hebrew Ḥēt ח, Aramaic Ḥēth , Syriac Ḥēṯ ܚ, and Arabic Ḥā' ح.

Heth originally represented a voiceless fricative, either pharyngeal /ħ/, or velar /x/ (the two Proto-Semitic phonemes having merged in Canaanite). In Arabic, two corresponding letters were created for both phonemic sounds: unmodified ḥāʾ ح represents /ħ/, while ḫāʾ خ represents /x/.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Eta Η, Etruscan H, Latin H and Cyrillic И. While H is a consonant in the Latin alphabet, the Greek and Cyrillic equivalents represent vowel sounds.


  • Origins 1
  • Hebrew Ḥet 2
    • Pronunciation 2.1
    • Variations 2.2
    • Significance 2.3
  • Arabic ḥāʾ 3
    • Pronunciation 3.1
  • Character encodings 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The letter shape ultimately goes back to a hieroglyph for "courtyard",

(possibly named ḥasir in the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, while the name goes rather back to ḫayt, the name reconstructed for a letter derived from a hieroglyph for "thread",

. In Arabic "thread" is خيط xajtˤ or xeːtˤ

The corresponding South Arabian letters are ḥ and ḫ , corresponding to Ge'ez Ḥauṭ ሐ and Ḫarm ኀ.

Hebrew Ḥet

Hebrew spelling:

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ח ח ח


In Modern Israeli Hebrew (and Ashkenazi Hebrew), the letter Ḥet (חֵית) usually has the sound value of a voiceless uvular fricative (/χ/), as the historical phonemes of the letters Ḥet ח (/ħ/) and Khaf כ (/x/) merged, both becoming the voiceless uvular fricative ([χ]).

In more rare phonologies, it is pronounced as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative (/ħ/) and is still among Mizrahim (especially among the older generation and popular Mizrahi singers), in accordance with oriental Jewish traditions.

The ability to pronounce the Arabic letter ḥāʾ (ح) correctly as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/ is often used as a shibboleth to distinguish Arabic-speakers from non-Arabic-speakers; in particular, pronunciation of the letter as /x/ is seen as a hallmark of Ashkenazi Jews and Greeks.

Ḥet is one of the few Hebrew consonants that can take a vowel at the end of a word. This occurs when patach gnuva comes under the Ḥet at the end of the word. The combination is then pronounced /-aχ/ rather than /-χa/. For example: פתוח (/ˌpaˈtuaχ/), and תפוח (/ˌtaˈpuaχ/).


Ḥet, along with Aleph, Ayin, Resh, and He, cannot receive a dagesh. As pharyngeal fricatives are difficult for most English speakers to pronounce, loanwords are usually Anglicized to have /h/. Thus challah (חלה), pronounced by native Hebrew speakers as /χala/ or /ħala/ is pronounced /halə/ by most English speakers, who cannot often perceive the difference between [h] and [ħ].


In gematria, Ḥet represents the number eight.

In chat rooms, online forums, and social networking the letter Ḥet repeated (חחחחחחחחחח) denotes laughter, similar to the English LOL.

Arabic ḥāʾ

The letter is named حاء ḥāʾ and is the sixth letter of the alphabet. Its shape varies depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ح ـح ـحـ حـ

this letter in pre-punctuation modification that was introduced after Islam, was used to denote two letters, the second letter being خḪāʾ


In Arabic, the ḥāʾ is similar to the English H, but is much "raspier",[1] IPA: [ħ]~[ʜ].

In Persian, it is [h], exactly as .

Character encodings

Character ח ح ܚ
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1495 U+05D7 1581 U+062D 1818 U+071A 2055 U+0807
UTF-8 215 151 D7 97 216 173 D8 AD 220 154 DC 9A 224 160 135 E0 A0 87
Numeric character reference ח ח ح ح ܚ ܚ
Character Έ
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66440 U+10388 67655 U+10847 67847 U+10907
UTF-8 240 144 142 136 F0 90 8E 88 240 144 161 135 F0 90 A1 87 240 144 164 135 F0 90 A4 87
UTF-16 55296 57224 D800 DF88 55298 56391 D802 DC47 55298 56583 D802 DD07
Numeric character reference 𐎈 𐎈 𐡇 𐡇 𐤇 𐤇

See also


  1. ^ Bouchentouf, Amine (2006). Arabic for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc. p. 15. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.