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Phonemic representationz
Position in alphabet7
Numerical value7
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician
LatinZ, ?, ?

Zayin (also spelled zain or zayn or simply zay) is the seventh letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Zayin Phoenician zayin.svg, Hebrew 'Zayin ?‎, Yiddish Zoyen ?‎, Aramaic Zain Zayin.svg, Syriac Zayn ?, and Arabic Zayn or Z?y ?. It represents the sound .

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek zeta (?), Etruscan z Z, Latin Z, and Cyrillic Ze ?.

Original and modern meaning of the noun 'zayin'

In Modern Hebrew slang, zayin (‎) means "penis" and lezayen (?‎) is a vulgar term which generally means to perform sexual intercourse,[1][2] although the older meaning survives in maavak mezuyan ("armed struggle") (? ‎), kokhot mezuyanim ("armed forces") ( ?‎), and beton mezuyan (? ‎) ("armed, i.e., reinforced concrete").

The Proto-Sinaitic glyph may have been called ziqq, based on a hieroglyph depicting a "manacle".[3]

Arabic z?y

The letter is named z?y. It has two forms, depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
? ?

The similarity to r?'  ?  is likely a function of the original Syriac forms converging to a single symbol, requiring that one of them be distinguished as a dot; a similar process occurred to j?m and '.

The same letter has another name - ze - in a number of languages, such as Persian.


It also has a modified version: ? Persian pronunciation: [?e], which is used in Persian, Pashto, Kurdish, Urdu and Uyghur (see K?ona Yezik?).

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
? ?

Hebrew zayin

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive Hebrew Rashi script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
? ? ? Hebrew letter Zayin handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Zayin Rashi.png

In modern Hebrew, the frequency of the usage of zayin, out of all the letters, is 0.88%.

Hebrew spelling:

In modern Hebrew, the combination ‎ (zayin followed by a geresh) is used in loanwords and foreign names to denote as in vision.


Numerical value (gematria)

In gematria, zayin represents the number seven,[4] and when used at the beginning of Hebrew years it means 7000 (i.e. in numbers would be the future date 7754).

Use in Torah scroll

Zayin is also one of the seven letters which receive a special crown (called a tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll), besides ?ayin, gimel, teth, nun, shin, and tzadi.

Meaning as a noun

For the Biblical and Modern Hebrew meaning of 'zayin' as a noun, see above.

It is one of several Hebrew letters that have an additional meaning as a noun. The others are: bet [?‎, the 2nd letter], whose name is a grammatical form of the word for 'house' (); vav [?‎, the 6th letter], whose name means 'hook' (); kaf [?‎, the 11th], whose name means 'palm [of the hand]' or 'tablespoon' (); ?ayin [?‎, the 16th], whose name means 'eye' (); pe [?‎, the 17th], whose name means 'mouth' (); qof [?‎, the 19th], whose name means 'monkey' or "eye of needle" (); tav [?‎, the 22nd], whose name means 'mark' (), and several other Hebrew letters, whose names are ancient Hebrew forms of nouns still used, with a slight change of form or pronunciation, as nouns in modern Hebrew.[5]

Syriac zain

Zain is a consonant with the /z/ sound which is a voiced alveolar fricative.

Character encodings

Character information
Preview ז ز ܙ
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1494 U+05D6 1586 U+0632 1817 U+0719 2054 U+0806
UTF-8 215 150 D7 96 216 178 D8 B2 220 153 DC 99 224 160 134 E0 A0 86
Numeric character reference ז ז ز ز ܙ ܙ ࠆ ࠆ

Character information
Preview 𐎇 𐡆 𐤆
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66439 U+10387 67654 U+10846 67846 U+10906
UTF-8 240 144 142 135 F0 90 8E 87 240 144 161 134 F0 90 A1 86 240 144 164 134 F0 90 A4 86
UTF-16 55296 57223 D800 DF87 55298 56390 D802 DC46 55298 56582 D802 DD06
Numeric character reference 𐎇 𐎇 𐡆 𐡆 𐤆 𐤆

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of in Modern Hebrew, Milon Morfix (en)".
  2. ^ Michael Handelzalts (15 October 2013). "How a Hebrew letter came to mean both "penis" and "weapon"". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ Brian E. Colless, Cuneiform Alphabet
  4. ^ "Gematria Chart".
  5. ^ "Milon Morfix (en)".

links 1 and 4 are dead

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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