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Gimmel redirects here, for the musical group, see Gimmel (music group).
Bet               Gimel               Dalet
Phoenician Hebrew Aramaic Syriac Arabic
Gimel ג Gimel ܓ ﺟ,ﺝ
Greek Latin Cyrillic
Phonemic representation: ɡ, ɣ, dʒ, ʒ, ɟ
Position in alphabet: 3
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value: 3

Gimel is the third letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ג, Syriac ܓ and Arabic ǧīm (in alphabetical order; 5th in higa'i order). Its sound value in the original Phoenician and in all derived alphabets save Arabic is a voiced velar plosive [ɡ]; in Arabic, it represents a voiced postalveolar affricate [dʒ] in the standard language, though this varies (with [ɡ] and [ʒ] being the most common) from dialect to dialect.

In its Proto-Canaanite form, the letter was likely named after a weapon which was debateably either a staff sling or a throwing stick, ultimately deriving from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph based on the hieroglyph below:


The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek gamma (Γ) and the Latin C and G and Cyrillic Г.


Hebrew Gimel

Phoenician alphabet
(ca. 1050–200 BCE)
𐤀    𐤁    𐤂    𐤃    𐤄    𐤅
𐤆    𐤇    𐤈    𐤉    𐤊    𐤋
𐤌    𐤍    𐤎    𐤏    𐤐
𐤑    𐤒    𐤓    𐤔    𐤕
Semitic abjads · Genealogy
Hebrew alphabet
(400 BCE–present)
א    ב    ג    ד    ה    ו
ז    ח    ט    י    כך
ל    מם    נן    ס    ע    פף
צץ    ק    ר    ש    ת
History · Transliteration
Niqqud · Dagesh · Gematria
Cantillation · Numeration
Syriac alphabet
(200 BCE–present)
ܐ    ܒ    ܓ    ܕ    ܗ    ܘ
ܙ    ܚ    ܛ    ܝ    ܟܟ    ܠ
ܡܡ    ܢܢ    ܣ    ܥ    ܦ
ܨ    ܩ    ܪ    ܫ    ܬ
Arabic alphabet
(400 CE–present)
ا    ب    ت    ث    ج    ح
خ    د    ذ    ر    ز    س
ش    ص    ض    ط    ظ    ع
غ    ف    ق    ك    ل
م    ن    ه    و    ي
History · Transliteration
Diacritics · Hamza ء
Numerals · Numeration


Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ג ג ג Hebrew letter Gimel handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Gimel Rashi.png

The letter gimel is one of the six letters which can receive a Dagesh Kal. The six are Bet, Gimel, Daled, Kaph, Pe, and Taf. Three of them (Bet, Kaph, and Pe) have their sound value changed in modern Hebrew from the fricative to the plosive by adding a dagesh. The other three represent the same pronunciation in modern Hebrew, but have had alternate pronunciations at other times and places. In the Temani pronunciation, Gimel represents /ɡ/, /ʒ/, or /d͡ʒ/ when with a dagesh, and /ɣ/ without a dagesh. In modern Hebrew, the combination ג׳ (gimel followed by a geresh) is used in loanwords and foreign names to denote [d͡ʒ].


In gematria, gimel represents the number three.

It is written like a vav with a yud as a "foot", and it resembles a person in motion; symbolically, a rich man running after a poor man to give him charity: gimel directly precedes dalet in the Hebrew alphabet, and this which signifies a poor/lowly man, from the Hebrew word dal.

The word gimel is related to gemul, which means justified repayment, or the giving of reward and punishment.

Gimmel is also one of the seven letters which receive a special crown (called a tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah. See shin, ayin, teth, nun, zayin, and tsadi.

Syriac Gomal/Gamal

In the Syriac alphabet, the third letter is ܓ — Gomal in western pronunciation, Gamal in eastern pronunciation (ܓܡܠ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are Bet, Dalet, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Gomal/Gamal has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [ɡ]. When Gomal/Gamal has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [ɣ]. The letter, renamed Jomal/Jamal, is written with a tilde/tie either below or within it to represent the borrowed phoneme [], which is used in Garshuni and some Neo-Aramaic languages.

Arabic ǧīm

The associated Arabic letter is named جيم ǧīm or jīm, and is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Initial Medial Final
Form of letter: ج جـ ـجـ ـج

The letter ǧīm is matched only by qaf among Arabic consonants in the number of pronunciations applied to it dialectically. As noted above, Modern Standard Arabic has the voiced postalveolar affricate IPA: [dʒ] as its standard pronunciation of the letter, but in Egyptian Arabic and some Yemeni dialects, the letter is pronounced as the voiced velar plosive /ɡ/ (as in Hebrew and the other Semitic languages), in Levantine Arabic as the voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/, in Kuwaiti Arabic a palatal approximant /j/, and still others (particularly among Bedouins) as a palatalized voiced velar plosive, /ɡʲ/, the most common reconstruction from Classical Arabic.

Egyptians often use the letter to represent /ɡ/ in foreign words, which may be confusing. This transliteration has spread for many words, e.g. جولف (golf) (also spelled غولف in other Arab countries).

Many Arabs pronounce as [ʒ] when speaking in MSA, considering this to be standard, rather than [dʒ]. This pronunciation is very common for many East Arabic (Mashriqi) dialects. In addition, Egyptians are wont to pronounce as [ɡ] in all situations, even when speaking MSA, and this carries over even into official communications such as news broadcasts and government bulletins & it's considered prestigious.

In Perso-Arabic script, it is called jim.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also gimel


Proper noun




  1. A Swiss comune.

Simple English

Gimel is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


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