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Samech

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Samech

Samekh or Simketh is the fifteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic, representing /s/. The Arabic alphabet, however, uses a letter based on Phoenician šin to represent /s/ (see there); however, that glyph takes Samekh's place in the traditional Abjadi order of the Arabic alphabet.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Xi (Ξ, ξ).[1]

Origins

The origin of Samekh is unclear. The Phoenician letter may continue a glyph from the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, either based on a hieroglyph for a tent peg / some kind of prop (s'mikhah, Hebrew: סמיכה‎, or t'mikhah, Hebrew: תמיכה‎, in modern Hebrew means to support), and thus may be derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph djed. R11

Hebrew Samekh

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
Script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ס ס ס

Hebrew spelling: סָמֶךְ

Pronunciation

Samekh represents //, a voiceless alveolar fricative. Unlike most Semitic consonants, the pronunciation of /s/ remains constant between vowels and before voiced consonants.

Significance

Samekh in gematria has the value 60.

Samekh and Mem form the abbreviation for the Angel of Death, whose name in Hebrew is Samael. It also stands for centimetre.

In some legends, samekh is said to have been a miracle of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet that would presumably have been used for the tablets. However, this would be appropriate for the Rabbis which maintained that the Torah or the Ten Commandments were given in the later Hebrew "Assyrian" script (Sanhedrin 21b-22a).

Character encodings

Notes

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