Glossary

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  • a

  • Alef The first letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written א and is mostly used as a stand-alone vowel with no initial consonant. Its numeric value is 1.
  • Ayn The sixteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ע and originally sounded like a vowel pronounced from the back of the throat. Nowadays, most Modern Hebrew speakers pronounce it as a plain vowel sound. Its numeric value is 70.
  • b

  • Beged-Kefet A mnemonic to remember the six letters that receive a dagesh kal in the beginning of words or after shva. These letters are Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh and Tav.
  • Bet The second letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ב and represents the sound B with a dagesh in it, and V without a dagesh. It has the numeric value of 2. The letter ב also serves as a prefix-preposition which means 'at' or 'in'.
  • Binyan The Hebrew word for 'building' or 'structure'. In linguistical context the term refers to one of the seven structures of Hebrew verbs. Binyan is essentially a phonetic pattern or the mold into which you cast the shoresh letter to form a verb.
  • c

  • Chet The eighth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ח and sound like the letter J in Spanish. On this website it is transcribed as CH to differentiate it from a soft Khaf. Its numeric value is 8.
  • Chiriq A Niqud sign indicating the vowel 'i' or 'ee'. It is written as a single dot under the letter. For instance, סִ is pronounced 'si' as in the word simple. The letter Yod may follow the Hirik to indicate a longer ee sound.
  • Cholam A nikud sign indicating the vowel O. It is marked by a single dot over the top left corner of the letter, or on top of the letter Vav that follows it. For instance, לֹ and לוֹ are pronounced 'lo'.
  • d

  • Dagesh Emphasis indicator. It is marked by a dot inside the letter. There two types of Dagesh: A strong Dagesh (Dagesh Chazak) - an integral part of the structure of the word, and a light Dagesh (Dagesh Qal) which is added to some letters when they appear in the beginning of words or after Shva.
  • Dalet The fourth letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ד and sounds like the letter D in the word 'door'. Its numeric value is 4.
  • g

  • Gimel The third letter of the Hebrew Alphabeth. It is written ג and sounds like the letter g in the word 'guitar'. Its numeric value is 3. In Modern Hebrew it is also used to express the sound of J by adding an apostrophe to it. The name James is written ג'יימס in Hebrew.
  • h

  • Heh The fifth letter of the Alphabet. It is written ה and sounds like the letter H in the word 'have' but Modern Hebrew speakers often pronounce it like a simple clean vowel. Its numeric value is 5. The letter Heh is also a prefix which functions as the definite article of Hebrew: House - בית | The house - הבית. The letter Heh is also used at the end of words as a closure to the A sound indicating female: boy - יֶלֶד (yeled) | girl - יַלְדָּה (yalda)
  • k

  • Kaf The eleventh letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written כ in the beginning or middle of words and ך at the end of words. With a dagesh it sounds like letter K in the word 'kin' and without a dagesh it sounds like the 'CH' in the German name Bach. Its numeric value is 20. The letter Kaf is also a prefix meaning 'as' or 'like': Ice - קרח | cold as ice - קר כקרח.
  • l

  • Lamed The twelfth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ל and sound like the letter L in the word 'lint'. Its numeric value is 30. The letter Lamed is also a prefix preposition meaning 'to' or 'for': Everybody - כולם | for / to everybody - לכולם.
  • m

  • Mem The thirteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. In is written מ in the beginning or middle of words and ם as a final letter. It sounds like the letter M in the word 'mark'. Its numeric value is 40. The letter Mem is also a prefix preposition meaning 'from' or 'out of': far - רחוק | from a far - מרחוק
  • Mishqal The phonetic pattern, the structure or the mold which consists of vowels and suffixes and infixes, and into which you place the Shoresh letters to create nouns and adjectives. The words מפעל (Mif'al - factory), מקדש (Miqdash - temple), מגרש (Migrash - lot), and מטבח (Mitbach - kitchen) all have the same MiXXaX pattern which indicates a place (among other things).
  • n

  • Niqud A system of signs combining dots and short lines which appear under, in, or on top of letters and is used to indicate vowels, emphasis and more. The name derives from the word Nequda (נקודה), meaning 'dot' or 'point'.
  • Nun The fourteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written נ in the beginning or middle of words and ן at the end of them. It sounds like the letter N in the word 'nice'. It has the numeric value of 50.
  • p

  • Patach A Niqud sign indicating the vowel A in Modern Hebrew. It is a short horizontal line placed under the letter. For instance דַ is pronounced 'da'.
  • Peh The seventeenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written פ in the beginning or middle of words and ף as final letter at the end of them. With a dagesh it sound like the letter P as in the word 'pine', and without a dagesh it sounds like the letter F in the word 'fine'. Its numeric value is 80.
  • q

  • Qamats A nikud sign indicating the vowel A (sometimes O but less common). It is shape like a capital T which was pressed down. It is placed under the letter - for instance מָ is pronounced 'ma'.
  • Qof The nineteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ק and sounds like the letter Q in the word 'quest'. It is transcribed as Q to differentiate from the letter Kaf which has a similar sound. Its numeric value is 100.
  • Qubuts A Niqud sign indicating the vowel U or 'oo'. It consists of three diagonal dots under the letter. For instance, צֻ is pronounced 'tsu'.
  • r

  • Resh The twentieth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ר and in Modern Hebrew it sounds like the letter R in French. In Ancient Hebrew was a trilled R like in Spanish or Russian. Its numeric value is 200.
  • s

  • Samekh The fifteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ס and sounds like the letter S in the word 'save'. Its numeric value is 60.
  • Segol A niqud sign indicating the vowel E. It consists of three dots arranged in an upside-down triangle under the letter. For instance, טֶ is pronounced 'te'.
  • Shin The twenty first letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. When it is written שׁ with a dot on the right sounds like the letters SH in the word 'shave'. When it is written שׂ with a dot on the left it sounds like the letter S in the word 'save'. Its numeric value is 300.
  • Shoresh The Hebrew word for 'root'. In linguistical context, the term refers to the main three letters (usually consonants and sometimes only two letters) which provide the basic meaning to the word. For instance, the shoresh of the words לכתוב (to write), מכתב (letter), התכתבות (correspondence), כתובת (address), and להכתיב (to dictate) consists of the letters כ-ת-ב (Kaf-Tav-Bet) which conveys the meaning of writing.
  • Shva A Niqud sign indicating the syllable has no vowel or a very brief vowel shortened from the original one. It consists of two dots aligned vertically. For instance, זְ is simply pronounced 'z'.
  • Smikhut Meaning adjacency in Hebrew. Refers to a compound expressing relation or possession between to nouns by placing them directly one after the other with no other word in between. Only the second word in the compound my receive the definite article “ה”. For instance, the compound פנס רחוב mean street (רחוב) light (פנס). The streetlight is פנס הרחוב and the streetlights is פנסי הרחוב.Smikhut can also be used with an adjective as the first word instead of a noun, but it is rarer and done mostly in formal speech.
  • Sofit Meaning final. The term refers to the variation in writing which occurs in the letters Kaf, Mem, Nun, Peh and Tsadi when they appear at the end of a word. Fun fact: These final versions are actually the original ways the letters were written. The change gradually occurred in the way they were written in the beginning or middle of words to make the transition to the next letter smoother.
  • t

  • Tav The twenty second and last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ת and in Modern Hebrew sounds like the letter T in the word 'test'. In Ancient Hebrew it sounded more like TH or S. Its numeric value is 400.
  • Tet The ninth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ט and sounds like the letter T in the word 'test'. Its numeric value is 9.
  • Tsadi The eighteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written צ in the beginning or middle of words and ץ as a final letter at the end of words. It sounds like the combination of the letters T and S in the word 'fits'. Its numeric value is 90.
  • Tsereh A niqud sign indicating the vowel E. It consists of two dots arranged horizontally under the letter. For instance, נֵ is pronounced 'ne'.
  • v

  • Vav The sixth letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ו and as a consonant it sounds like the letter V in the word 'van'. Vav is also used to indicate the vowels O (וֹ) and U (וּ). It's numeric value is 6. The letter Vav is also used as a prefix before words meaning 'and': blood - דם | flesh and blood - בשר ודם In Modern Hebrew two Vav in a row usually sounds like W: Wonder Woman - וונדר וומן.
  • y

  • Yod The tenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written י and sounds like the letter Y in the word 'yes'. The letter Yod also serves as an indication or an extension to the vowel 'i' or 'ee'. Its numeric value is 10.
  • z

  • Zain The seventh letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is written ז and sounds like the letter Z in the word Zebra. Its numeric value is 7. With an apostrophe, Zain is used to represents the sound of the letter J as in the French name Jean - ז'אן. In Modern Hebrew Zain is also a vulgar word meaning penis or dick.
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