Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet


By Jeff A. Benner


Ancient Name: Quph
Pictograph: Sun at the horizon
Meanings: Circle, Revolution, Condense, Time
Sound: Q

History & Reconstruction

Most of the pictographs used for this letter are , and . Ancient Semitic letters that were originally oriented in a horizontal plane were tilted to a vertical plane. More than likely this letter was originally written as .

The name of this letter is quph, a parent root. When all of the words derived from this parent root are compared the common theme of a circle or revolution is found. The pictograph of this letter is probably a picture of the sun at the horizon in the sense of a revolution of the sun.

The various meanings of this letter are "sun," "revolution," "circle" and "horizon." This letter can also mean condense as the light gathers at the sun when it is at the horizon. It can also mean time, as the revolution of the sun is used to calculate time. Hebrew, Greek and Arabic agree that the sound for this letter is "q." The Modern Hebrew and Arabic name for this letter is quph, a parent root.

The early pictograph evolved into in the Middle Semitic script and continued to evolve into in the Late Semitic Script. From the middle Semitic script is derived the Modern Hebrew ק). The Middle Semitic script is the origin of the Latin letter Q.

Semitic Script Charts

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