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Mem               Nun               Samekh
Phoenician Hebrew Aramaic Syriac Arabic
Nun נ,ן Nun ܢܢ ن‍,ن
Greek Latin Cyrillic
Phonemic representation: n
Position in alphabet: 14
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value: 50

Nun is the fourteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew נ and Arabic alphabet nūn ن (in abjadi order). It is the third letter in Thaana (ނ), pronounced as "noonu". Its sound value is IPA: [n].

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek nu (Ν), Etruscan N 𐌍, Latin N, and Cyrillic Н.



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

Nun is thought to have come from a pictogram of a snake (the Hebrew word for snake, nachash begins with a Nun and snake in Aramaic is nun) or eel. Some have hypothesized a hieroglyph of a fish in water for its origin (in Arabic, nūn means large fish or whale). The Phoenician letter was named nūn "fish", but the glyph likely descends from Proto-Canaanite naḥš "snake", ultimately from a hieroglyph representing a snake,


(see Middle Bronze Age alphabets). Naḥš in modern Arabic literally means "bad luck". The cognate letter in Ge'ez and descended Semitic languages of Ethiopia is nehas, which also means "brass".

Hebrew Nun

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
non final נ נ נ Hebrew letter Nun handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Nun-nonfinal Rashi.png
final ן ן ן Hebrew letter Nun-final handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Nun-final Rashi.png


Nun represents an alveolar nasal, (IPA: /n/), like the English letter N.


Nun, like Kaph, Mem, Pe, and Tzadi, has a final form, used at the end of words. Its shape changes from נ to ן. There are also nine instances of an inverted nun (׆) in the Tanakh.


In gematria, Nun represents the number 50. Its final form represents 700 but this is rarely used, Tav and Shin (400+300) being used instead.

As in Arabic, nun as an abbreviation can stand for neqevah, feminine. In medieval Rabbinic writings, Nun Sophit (Final Nun) stood for "Son of" (Hebrew ben or ibn).

Nun 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, Gimmel, Zayin, and Tzadi.

In the game of dreidel, a rolled Nun passes play to the next player with no other action.

Arabic nūn

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

Position in word: Isolated Initial Medial Final
Form of letter: ن نـ ـنـ ـن

Nūn is used as a suffix indicating present-tense plural feminine nouns; for example هي تكتب hiya taktub ("she writes") becomes هنّ تكتبن hunna taktabna ("they [feminine] write").

Nūn is also used as the prefix for first-person plural imperfective/present tense verbs. Thus هو يكتب huwwa yaktub ("he writes") → نحن نكتب naḥnu naktub ("we write").

See also

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The name signifies "fish," and perhaps indicates the original shape of the letter (see Alphabet). The "nun" has two forms, one (נ) for the beginning or middle of a word and one (ן) for the end. It is a liquid lingual letter, but its pronunciation is greatly helped by the nose, and therefore in certain cases it is now pronounced with the nasal sound of the French "n." It interchanges with the other liquids ל and ר. It is one of the servile letters, being used as a prefix to form the first person plural of the imperfect in all conjugations, and to form the "nif'al." When followed by "shewa" it is, if initial and radical, regularly dropped (so in the imperative and infinitive of many verbs); if at the end of a syllable, it is generally assimilated to the following consonant. Its numerical value is fifty. On the "inverted" nuns see Jew. Encyc. viii. 368.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.

Simple English

Nun is the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

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