Heth (letter)
or is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet
Proto-Canaanite alphabet
Proto-Canaanite is the name given to the Proto-Sinaitic script when found in Canaan. the early Phoenician script before some cut-off date, typically 1050 BCE. The Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects were largely indistinguishable before that time...

, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician
Phoenician alphabet
The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

, Syriac
Syriac alphabet
The Syriac alphabet is a writing system primarily used to write the Syriac language from around the 2nd century BC . It is one of the Semitic abjads directly descending from the Aramaic alphabet and shares similarities with the Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, and the traditional Mongolian alphabets.-...

  , Hebrew
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

 ḥēth (also khet or chet) , Arabic
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

  , and Berber
Tifinagh is a series of abjad and alphabetic scripts used by some Berber peoples, notably the Tuareg, to write their language.A modern derivate of the traditional script, known as Neo-Tifinagh, was introduced in the 20th century...


Heth originally represented a voiceless fricative, either pharyngeal
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h-bar .-Features:Features of the voiceless pharyngeal fricative:...

 /ħ/, or velar
Voiceless velar fricative
The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The sound was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English....

 /x/ (the two Proto-Semitic phonemes having merged in Canaanite). In Arabic, two corresponding letters were created for both phonemic sounds: unmodified represents /ħ/, while represents /x/.

In modern Israeli Hebrew, the historical phonemes of the letters ח (/ħ/) and כ (/x/) merged, both becoming the voiceless uvular fricative ([χ]).

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

Eta (letter)
Eta ) is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally denoting a consonant /h/, its sound value in the classical Attic dialect of Ancient Greek was a long vowel , raised to in medieval Greek, a process known as itacism.In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 8...

 (Η), Etruscan  , Latin
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

H .) is the eighth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.-History:The Semitic letter ⟨ח⟩ most likely represented the voiceless pharyngeal fricative . The form of the letter probably stood for a fence or posts....

 and Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

I (Cyrillic)
I is a letter used in almost all ancient and modern Cyrillic alphabets.It commonly represents the close front unrounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨i⟩ in "machine", or the near-close near-front unrounded vowel , like the pronunciation of ⟨i⟩ in "bin".-History:The Cyrillic letter I was...

. While H is a consonant in the Latin alphabet, the Greek and Cyrillic equivalents represent vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...



The letter shape ultimately goes back to a hieroglyph
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 for "courtyard", O6
(possibly named in the Middle Bronze Age alphabets
Middle Bronze Age alphabets
Proto-Sinaitic is a Middle Bronze Age script attested in a very small collection of inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula. Due to the extreme scarcity of Proto-Sinaitic signs, very little is known with certainty about the nature of the script...

, while the name goes rather back to , the name reconstructed for a letter derived from a hieroglyph for "thread", V28

The corresponding South Arabian
South Arabian alphabet
The ancient Yemeni alphabet branched from the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet in about the 9th century BC. It was used for writing the Yemeni Old South Arabic languages of the Sabaean, Qatabanian, Hadramautic, Minaean, Himyarite, and proto-Ge'ez in Dʿmt...

 letters are
, corresponding to Ge'ez  ሐ and ኀ.

Hebrew Chet (Ḥet)

The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

Various Print Fonts Cursive
Rashi script
Rashi script is a semi-cursive typeface for the Hebrew alphabet. It is named for the author of the most famous rabbinic commentary on the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, Rashi, and is customarily used for printing his commentaries. The typeface is based on 15th century Sephardic semi-cursive...

Serif Sans-serif
In typography, a sans-serif, sans serif or san serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning "without"....

ח ח ח

Hebrew spelling:


In Modern Israeli Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, the letter Khet usually has the sound value of a voiceless uvular fricative (/χ/), due to European influence. It was originally pronounced as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h-bar .-Features:Features of the 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 correctly as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
The voiceless pharyngeal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is h-bar .-Features:Features of the voiceless pharyngeal fricative:...

 /ħ/ is often used as a shibboleth
A shibboleth is a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important...

 to distinguish Arabic
Varieties of Arabic
The Arabic language is a Semitic language characterized by a wide number of linguistic varieties within its five regional forms. The largest divisions occur between the spoken languages of different regions. The Arabic of North Africa, for example, is often incomprehensible to an Arabic speaker...

-speakers from non-Arabic-speakers; in particular, pronunciation of the letter as x is seen as a hallmark of Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 and Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....


Chet 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 Chet at the end of the word. The combination is then pronounced /-aχ/ rather than /-χa/. For example: פתוח (ˌpaˈtuaχ), and תפוח (ˌtaˈpuaχ).


Chet, along with Aleph, Ayin
' or ' is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic . It is the twenty-first letter in the new Persian alphabet...

, Resh
Resh is the twentieth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic alphabet . Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually or , but also or in Hebrew....

, and He
He (letter)
He is the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician , Aramaic, Hebrew , Syriac and Arabic . Its sound value is a voiceless glottal fricative ....

, 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 /xala/ or /ħala/ is pronounced /halə/ by most English speakers, who cannot often perceive the difference between [h] and [ħ].


In gematria
Gematria or gimatria is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person's age, the calendar year, or the like...

, Chet represents the number eight, and when used at the beginning of Hebrew years
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

, it means 8000 (i.e., חתשנד in numbers
Arabic numerals
Arabic numerals or Hindu numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals or Indo-Arabic numerals are the ten digits . They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians, in which a sequence of digits such as "975" is read as a numeral...

 would be the date
Calendar date
A date in a calendar is a reference to a particular day represented within a calendar system. The calendar date allows the specific day to be identified. The number of days between two dates may be calculated. For example, "24 " is ten days after "14 " in the Gregorian calendar. The date of a...


In chat rooms and online forums
Internet forum
An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived...

, the letter Chet repeated denotes laughter, similar to the English LOL
LOL (Internet slang)
LOL, an abbreviation for laughing out loud, or laugh out loud, is a common element of Internet slang. It was used historically on Usenet but is now widespread in other forms of computer-mediated communication, and even face-to-face communication...


Arabic ḥāʾ

The letter is named . It is commonly known in Egypt as ħɑ. The letter is written in several ways depending in its position in the word:
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