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for the town in Nepal see Resh, Nepal
Qoph               Resh               Shin
Phoenician Hebrew Aramaic Syriac Arabic
Resh ר Resh ܪ
Greek Latin Cyrillic
Phonemic representation: r / ɾ / ʁ / ʀ
Position in alphabet: 20
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value: 200

Resh (Arabic: reh) is the twentieth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ר and Arabic alphabet rāʾ . Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually IPA: [r] or /ɾ/ but also /ʁ/ or /ʀ/ in Hebrew.

In most Semitic alphabets, the letter resh (and its equivalents) is quite similar to the letter dalet (and its equivalents). In the Syriac alphabet, the letters became so similar that now they are only distinguished by a dot: resh has a dot above the letter, and the otherwise identical dalet has a dot below the letter. In the Arabic alphabet, rāʼ has a longer tail than dāl. In the Aramaic and Hebrew square alphabet, resh is a rounded single stroke while dalet is a right-angle of two strokes. The similarity led to the variant spellings of the name Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Rho (Ρ), Etruscan r EtruscanR-01.svg, Latin R, and Cyrillic Р.


Origins of Resh

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 word resh is usually assumed to have come from a pictogram of a head, ultimately reflecting Proto-Semitic *raʾ(i)š-. The word's East Semitic cognate, riš, was one possible phonetic reading of the Sumerian cuneiform sign for "head" (SAG 𒊕, B184ellst.png) in Akkadian.

Resh in Hebrew

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

In Hebrew, Resh represents a rhotic consonant that has different realizations for different dialects:

Resh, along with Ayin, Aleph, Hei, and Het, cannot receive a dagesh.

Resh in gematria represents the number 200.


As an abbreviation

Resh as an abbreviation can stand for Rabbi (or Rav, Rebbe, Rabban, Rabbenu, and other similar constructions).

Resh may be found after a person's name on a gravestone to indicate that they were a Rabbi or to indicate the other use of Rav, as a generic term for a teacher or a personal spiritual guide.

Spelling out

Resh is used in an Israeli phrase; after a child will say something false, one might say "B'Shin Kuf, Resh" (With Shin, Kuf, Resh). These letters spell Sheqer, which is the Hebrew word for a lie. It would be akin to an English speaker saying "That's a L-I-E."

Arabic rāʾ

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

Position in word: Isolated Initial Medial Final
Form of letter: ر (None) (None) ـر

It is a voiced dental trill [r].

Simple English

Resh is the twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


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