Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet


Dalet

By Jeff A. Benner


Early
Hebrew
Middle
Hebrew
Late
Hebrew
Modern
Hebrew


Pictograph: Door
Meanings: Move, Hang, Entrance
Sound: D


History & Reconstruction

There are two possibilities for the original Early Semitic pictograph for this letter, the picture of a fish - and a picture of a door - . The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is dalet and means "door." The word dalet is a derivative of the parent root dal also meaning "door." The Arabic name for this letter is dal giving support to the parent root as the original name. As the Hebrew word for a "fish" is dag, it is unlikely that the is the pictograph for this letter but, rather the .

The basic meaning of the letter is "door," but has several other meanings associated with it. It can mean "a back and forth movement" as one goes back and forth through the tent through the door. It can mean "dangle" as the tent door dangled down from a roof pole of the tent. It can also mean weak or poor as one who dangles the head down.

The sound for this letter is a "d" as in "door" as it is with the Greek and Arabic equivalents.

The Early Semitic pictograph evolved into the Middle Semitic letter . The Middle Semitic then evolved into the Late Semitic letter , the early form of the Modern Hebrew ד. The Middle Semitic letter is the origin of the Greek letter Δ, The Roman D and the number 4.


Semitic Script Charts




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