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Heth: Wikis


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Zayin               Heth               Teth
Phoenician Hebrew Aramaic Syriac Arabic
Heth ח Heth ܚ ﺣ,ﺡ
Greek Latin Cyrillic
Phonemic representation: ħ / χ / x
Position in alphabet: 8
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value: 8

Ḥet or H̱et (also spelled Khet, Kheth, Chet, Cheth, Het, or Heth) is the reconstructed name of the eighth letter of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, continued in descended Semitic alphabets as Phoenician ḥēth Phoenician heth.png, Syriac ḥēth ܚ, Hebrew chet (also khet) ח, Arabic ḥāʾ ح (in abjadi order), and Berber 2D43.png.

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 represents /x/.

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

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



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

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",


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

Hebrew Chet

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


In Modern Israeli Hebrew, the letter Khet usually has the sound value of a voiceless uvular fricative (/χ/), due to European influence. It may also be pronounced as a voiceless pharyngeal fricative (/ħ/) among Mizrahim (especially among the older generation and popular Mizrahi singers), in accordance with oriental Jewish traditions.

Chet is one of the few letters that can take a vowel at the end of a word. Normally, the vowel is patach gnuva, and when it comes under Chet at the end of a word, the combination is pronounced /ax/ rather than /xa/.


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


In gematria, Chet represents the number eight, and when used at the beginning of Hebrew years, it means 8000 (i.e., חתשנד in numbers would be the date 8754).

In chat rooms and online forums, the letter Chet repeated denotes laughter, similar to the English LOL.

Arabic ḥāʾ

The letter is named ḥāʾ, and is written in several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Initial Medial Final
Form of letter: ح حـ ـحـ ـح

The ability to pronounce ḥāʾ correctly is often used as a shibboleth to distinguish Arabic-speakers from non-Arabic-speakers; in particular, pronunciation of the letter as a voiceless velar fricative IPA: [x] is seen as a hallmark of Ashkenazi Jews and Greeks.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Meaning: dread

A descendant of Canaan, and the ancestor of the Hittites (Gen 10:18; Deut 7:1), who dwelt in the vicinity of Hebron (Gen 23:3ff). The Hittites were a Hamitic race. They are called "the sons of Heth" (Gen 23:3ff).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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