Hebrew character notes

Updated 5 January, 2019 • tags hebrew, scriptnotes

This page lists characters in the following Unicode block and provides information about them.

This is not authoritative, peer-reviewed information – these are just notes I have gathered and copied from various places.

For a summary of the script and its use in writing systems, see the page Hebrew script summary. For similar information related to other scripts, see this list.

We have usage data for the following 2 languages that use the Hebrew script: Hebrew, Yiddish.

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If you click on any red example text, you will see at the bottom right of the page a list of the characters that make up the example.

Read more about how to use this page.

To find a character by codepoint, type #char0000 at the end of the URL in the address bar, where 0000 is a four-figure, hex codepoint number, all in uppercase. Or type the character or the hex number in the Find control above.

To view this page as intended, you need a Hebrew font. Click the blue vertical bar at the bottom right of the page to apply other fonts, if you have them on your system. For transcriptions I recommend the excellent and free Doulos SIL font. The large character in the box will not be rendered unless the webfont downloaded with the page or a system font has a glyph for it. (If there is no glyph and you want to see what it looks like, click on See in UniView.)

Information about languages that use these characters is taken from the list maintained for the Character Use app. The list is not exhaustive.

References are indicated by superscript characters. Wherever possible, those contain direct links to the source material. When such a pointer is alongside an arrow → it means that it's worth following the link for the additional information it provides. Digits refer to the main sources, which are listed at the bottom of a set of notes.

When you are using UniView and you turn on Show notes, UniView will pull in information about characters from this page.

Based on ISO 8859-8

א

U+05D0 HEBREW LETTER ALEF

Israeli Hebrew consonant, alef

ʔ eg. אִם ʔim (if). In word-initial position, alef is not usually transliterated, eg. the transliteration of the previous example would be im. In other positions, it is transliterated as ', eg. שָׁאַל ʃaʔal (asked).

ɛ, a or ɔ vowel, though it doesn't represent part of the vowel per se, just a mute indicator.

eg. רִאשׁוֹן riʃɔn (first). It is not transliterated in this case.

Refs: Wikipedia

ב

U+05D1 HEBREW LETTER BET

Israeli Hebrew consonant, bɛt

v eg. טוֹב tɔv (good).

b, written בּ in pointed text, eg. בֵּן bɛn (son).

Refs: Wikipedia

ג

U+05D2 HEBREW LETTER GIMEL

Israeli Hebrew consonant, gimɛl

g eg. גַּג gag (roof).

Sometimes written גּ in pointed text (see the previous example) due to historical phonetic distinctions which are no longer relevant in modern Israeli hebrew.

ʤ when followed by geresh ג׳ , eg. ג׳וּק ʤuk (roach).

Refs: Wikipedia

ד

U+05D3 HEBREW LETTER DALET

Israeli Hebrew consonant, dalɛt

d eg. דּוּד dud (boiler).

Sometimes written with dagesh דּ in pointed text (see the previous example) due to historical phonetic distinctions which are no longer relevant in modern Israeli hebrew.

ʤ when followed by geresh ג׳ , eg. ג׳וּק ʤuk (roach).

ð when followed by geresh. Used for transliteration of non-Hebrew sounds such as Arabic ذ or English voiced th, eg. ד׳ו אל-חיג׳ה (Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة)‎). Sometimes just ד is used.

Refs: Wikipedia

ה

U+05D4 HEBREW LETTER HE

Israeli Hebrew consonant, he

h eg. הֵד hɛd (echo).

ɛ, a or ɔ vowel, though it doesn't represent part of the vowel per se, just a mute indicator.

This typically occurs at the end of a word, eg. פֹּה po (here). It is not transliterated in this case.

Refs: Wikipedia

ו

U+05D5 HEBREW LETTER VAV

Israeli Hebrew consonant/vowel, vav

v eg. וָו vav (hook).

u, written with dagesh in vowelled text, eg. הוּא hu (he).

o, written with holam in vowelled text, eg. לוֹ lo (to him).

w when followed by geresh as non-standard orthography, eg. עָוָנְטָה awanta (boastful act). This sound can also be written using װ [U+05F0 HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH DOUBLE VAV].

Refs: Wikipedia

ז

U+05D6 HEBREW LETTER ZAYIN

Israeli Hebrew consonant, zajin

z eg. זֶה ze (this).

ʒ when followed by geresh ז׳ , eg. זָ׳רְגוֹן ʒarɡon (jargon).

Refs: Wikipedia

ח

U+05D7 HEBREW LETTER HET

Israeli Hebrew consonant, hɛt

χ eg. חַם χam (hot).

This is sometimes transcribed ch, rather than the official .

Sometimes pronounced h.

Can be followed by geresh for transliteration of non-Hebrew text, such as the Arabic خ, to indicate that the pronunciation is χ, and not h, eg. שייח׳ (Sheikh (شيخ)‎).

Refs: Wikipedia

ט

U+05D8 HEBREW LETTER TET

Israeli Hebrew consonant, tɛt

t eg. קָט kat (tiny).

Refs: Wikipedia

י

U+05D9 HEBREW LETTER YOD

Israeli Hebrew consonant/vowel, jɔd

j eg. יָם yam (sea).

i, written after the hiriq in pointed text, eg. בִּי bi (in me).

ɛ, written after the tsere in pointed text, eg. מֵידָע mɛda (information).

Refs: Wikipedia

ך

U+05DA HEBREW LETTER FINAL KAF

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant, kaf sofit

See also the non-word-final variant כ [U+05DB HEBREW LETTER KAF].

χ eg. סְכָךְ sχaχ (branch-roofing).

k, written ךּ in pointed text. This is rare, but does exist, eg. מִמֶּךָּ.

Refs: Wikipedia

כ

U+05DB HEBREW LETTER KAF

Israeli Hebrew consonant, kaf

See also the word-final variant ך [U+05DA HEBREW LETTER FINAL KAF].

χ eg. סְכָךְ sχaχ (branch-roofing).

k, written כּ in pointed text, eg. כֹּה (so).

Refs: Wikipedia

ל

U+05DC HEBREW LETTER LAMED

Israeli Hebrew consonant, lamɛd

l eg. לִי li (to me).

Refs: Wikipedia

ם

U+05DD HEBREW LETTER FINAL MEM

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant, mɛm sofit

See also the non-word-final variant מ [U+05DE HEBREW LETTER MEM].

m eg. מוּם mum (defect).

Refs: Wikipedia

מ

U+05DE HEBREW LETTER MEM

Israeli Hebrew consonant, mɛm

See also the word-final variant ם [U+05DD HEBREW LETTER FINAL MEM].

m eg. מוּם mum (defect).

Refs: Wikipedia

ן

U+05DF HEBREW LETTER FINAL NUN

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant, nun sofit

See also the non-word-final variant נ [U+05E0 HEBREW LETTER NUN].

n eg. נִין nin (grandson).

Refs: Wikipedia

נ

U+05E0 HEBREW LETTER NUN

Israeli Hebrew consonant, nun

See also the word-final variant ן [U+05DF HEBREW LETTER FINAL NUN].

n eg. נִין nin (grandson).

Refs: Wikipedia

ס

U+05E1 HEBREW LETTER SAMEKH

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant, samɛχ

s eg. סוֹף sof (end).

Refs: Wikipedia

ע

U+05E2 HEBREW LETTER AYIN

Israeli Hebrew consonant, ʔajin

ʔ in word medial position, eg. מוֹעִיל moʔil (useful).

in word initial or final position, eg. עַדְלֹאיָדַע adlɔjada (Purim-parade). It is not transliterated in this case.

Refs: Wikipedia

ף

U+05E3 HEBREW LETTER FINAL PE

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant,

See also the other variant, פ [U+05E4 HEBREW LETTER PE].

f eg. פִסְפֵס fisfɛs (missed).

Refs: Wikipedia

פ

U+05E4 HEBREW LETTER PE

Israeli Hebrew consonant,

See also the other variant, ף [U+05E3 HEBREW LETTER FINAL PE].

f eg. פִסְפֵס fisfɛs (missed).

p, written פּ in pointed text. Note that there is no final variant form for this letter when used to represent p, the regular form is always used, eg. שׁוֹפּ ʃop (shop).

Refs: Wikipedia

ץ

U+05E5 HEBREW LETTER FINAL TSADI

Israeli Hebrew word-final consonant variant, ʦadi sofit

See also the non-word-final variant צ [U+05E6 HEBREW LETTER TSADI].

ʦ eg. צִיץ ʦiʦ (bud).

ʦ when followed by geresh ץ׳, eg. ריצ׳רץ׳ ʁiʧʁaʧ (zip).

Refs: Wikipedia

צ

U+05E6 HEBREW LETTER TSADI

Israeli Hebrew consonant, ʦadi

See also the word-final variant ץ [U+05E5 HEBREW LETTER FINAL TSADI].

ʦ eg. צִיץ ʦiʦ (bud).

ʦ when followed by geresh ץ׳, eg. ריצ׳רץ׳ ʁiʧʁaʧ (zip).

Refs: Wikipedia

ק

U+05E7 HEBREW LETTER QOF

Israeli Hebrew consonant, kɔf

k eg. קוֹל kɔl (sound).

Refs: Wikipedia

ר

U+05E8 HEBREW LETTER RESH

Israeli Hebrew consonant, ʁɛʃ

ʁ eg. עִיר (city). Sometimes pronounced ʀ. Commonly written phonemically as r.

Can be followed by geresh for transliteration of non-Hebrew text, such as the Arabic غ, to indicate that the pronunciation is ʁ, eg. ר׳ג׳ר ( Ghajar).

Refs: Wikipedia

ש

U+05E9 HEBREW LETTER SHIN

Israeli Hebrew consonant, ʃin

ʃ, written שׁ in pointed text, eg. שָׁם ʃam (there).

s, written שׂ in pointed text, eg. שָׂם sam (put).

Refs: Wikipedia

ת

U+05EA HEBREW LETTER TAV

Israeli Hebrew consonant, tav

t eg. תּוּת tut (strawberry).

Sometimes written תּ in pointed text (see the previous example) due to historical phonetic distinctions which are no longer relevant in modern Israeli hebrew.

θ when followed by geresh. Used for transliteration of non-Hebrew sounds such as Arabic or English th, eg. ת׳רסטון (Thurston).

Refs: Wikipedia

Yiddish digraphs

װ

U+05F0 HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH DOUBLE VAV

Israeli Hebrew

Non-standard orthography used to represent w eg. עָוָנְטָה awanta (boastful act). Can also be written as vav followed by geresh ו׳.

Refs: Wikipedia

ױ

U+05F1 HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH VAV YOD

ײ

U+05F2 HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH DOUBLE YOD

Cantillation marks

֑

U+0591 HEBREW ACCENT ETNAHTA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= atnah
֒

U+0592 HEBREW ACCENT SEGOL

Description in the Unicode standard:

= segolta
֓

U+0593 HEBREW ACCENT SHALSHELET

֔

U+0594 HEBREW ACCENT ZAQEF QATAN

֕

U+0595 HEBREW ACCENT ZAQEF GADOL

֖

U+0596 HEBREW ACCENT TIPEHA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= tarha, me'ayla ~ mayla
֗

U+0597 HEBREW ACCENT REVIA

֘

U+0598 HEBREW ACCENT ZARQA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= tsinorit, zinorit; tsinor, zinor
• This character is to be used when Zarqa or Tsinor are placed above, and also for Tsinorit.
→ (hebrew accent zinor - 05AE)
֙

U+0599 HEBREW ACCENT PASHTA

֚

U+059A HEBREW ACCENT YETIV

֛

U+059B HEBREW ACCENT TEVIR

֜

U+059C HEBREW ACCENT GERESH

Description in the Unicode standard:

= teres
֝

U+059D HEBREW ACCENT GERESH MUQDAM

֞

U+059E HEBREW ACCENT GERSHAYIM

֟

U+059F HEBREW ACCENT QARNEY PARA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= pazer gadol
֠

U+05A0 HEBREW ACCENT TELISHA GEDOLA

֡

U+05A1 HEBREW ACCENT PAZER

Description in the Unicode standard:

= pazer qatan
֢

U+05A2 HEBREW ACCENT ATNAH HAFUKH

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (hebrew accent yerah ben yomo - 05AA)
֣

U+05A3 HEBREW ACCENT MUNAH

֤

U+05A4 HEBREW ACCENT MAHAPAKH

֥

U+05A5 HEBREW ACCENT MERKHA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= yored
֦

U+05A6 HEBREW ACCENT MERKHA KEFULA

֧

U+05A7 HEBREW ACCENT DARGA

֨

U+05A8 HEBREW ACCENT QADMA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= azla
֩

U+05A9 HEBREW ACCENT TELISHA QETANA

֪

U+05AA HEBREW ACCENT YERAH BEN YOMO

Description in the Unicode standard:

= galgal
→ (hebrew accent atnah hafukh - 05A2)
֫

U+05AB HEBREW ACCENT OLE

֬

U+05AC HEBREW ACCENT ILUY

֭

U+05AD HEBREW ACCENT DEHI

֮

U+05AE HEBREW ACCENT ZINOR

Description in the Unicode standard:

= tsinor; zarqa
• This character is to be used when Zarqa or Tsinor are placed above left.
→ (hebrew accent zarqa - 0598)
֯

U+05AF HEBREW MARK MASORA CIRCLE

Points and punctuation

ְ

U+05B0 HEBREW POINT SHEVA

Hebrew ͓ שְׁוָא ʃvɑ e̞ ∅

Expresses either a very short vowel, or an absence of vowel between two consonants. See a list of various contexts in which the sh'va is pronounced.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֱ

U+05B1 HEBREW POINT HATAF SEGOL

Hebrew ĕ חֲטַף סֶגּוֹל‬ ħaˈtaf sɛˈɡol

Combination of ְ [U+05B0 HEBREW POINT SHEVA] with ֶ [U+05B6 HEBREW POINT SEGOL]. There is no decomposition for this character, and it should be used when the combination is needed.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֲ

U+05B2 HEBREW POINT HATAF PATAH

Hebrew ă חֲטַף פַּתַח ħaˈtaf paˈtaħ ä

Combination of ְ [U+05B0 HEBREW POINT SHEVA] with ַ [U+05B7 HEBREW POINT PATAH]. There is no decomposition for this character, and it should be used when the combination is needed.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֳ

U+05B3 HEBREW POINT HATAF QAMATS

Hebrew ŏ חֲטַף קָמָץ ħaˈtaf kaˈmats

Combination of ְ [U+05B0 HEBREW POINT SHEVA] with ָ [U+05B8 HEBREW POINT QAMATS]. There is no decomposition for this character, and it should be used when the combination is needed.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ִ

U+05B4 HEBREW POINT HIRIQ

Hebrew i חִירִיק‬ χiˈʁik i

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֵ

U+05B5 HEBREW POINT TSERE

Hebrew e צֵירֵי‬ tseˈɾe e̞ e̞j

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֶ

U+05B6 HEBREW POINT SEGOL

Hebrew ɛ סֶגּוֹל sɛˈɡol

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ַ

U+05B7 HEBREW POINT PATAH

Description in the Unicode standard:

• furtive patah is not a distinct character

Hebrew a פַּתַח paˈtaħ ä

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ָ

U+05B8 HEBREW POINT QAMATS

Description in the Unicode standard:

• used generically or as qamats gadol in orthography which distinguishes that from qamats qatan
→ (hebrew point qamats qatan - 05C7)

Hebrew ɑ קָמַץ kaˈmats ä o̞

In some biblical texts a distinction is made between ׇ [U+05C7 HEBREW POINT QAMATS QATAN] and קָמַץ גָּדוֹל kamaʦ gadɔl. Normally, in modern Hebrew, you can use this character for either, but where a distinction in needed you can use this character for kamaʦ gadɔl and ׇ [U+05C7 HEBREW POINT QAMATS QATAN] for kamaʦ katan.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֹ

U+05B9 HEBREW POINT HOLAM

Hebrew o חוֹלָם‬ ħoˈlam

explanation_of_usage

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֺ

U+05BA HEBREW POINT HOLAM HASER FOR VAV

Hebrew ȯ ħoˈlam ħaˈser

explanation_of_usage

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֻ

U+05BB HEBREW POINT QUBUTS

Hebrew u קֻבּוּץ‬ kuˈbuts u

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ׇ

U+05C7 HEBREW POINT QAMATS QATAN

Hebrew point קָמַץ קָטָן

In some biblical texts a distinction is made between this character and קָמַץ גָּדוֹל kamaʦ gadɔl. Normally, in modern Hebrew, you can use  ָ [U+05B8 HEBREW POINT QAMATS] for either, but where a distinction in needed you can use  ָ [U+05B8 HEBREW POINT QAMATS] for kamaʦ gadɔl and this character for kamaʦ katan.

Refs: Wikipedia, Unicode 5.2, p237

ּ

U+05BC HEBREW POINT DAGESH OR MAPIQ

Description in the Unicode standard:

= shuruq
• falls within the base letter

Hebrew ̣ דָּגֵשׁ dagesh/mappiq

The only diacritic to appear inside a consonant, this character is used in vowelled text to indicate that 5 consonants map to 'hard' sounds. This is similar to the distinction made in Syriac. Below, the hard sounds are shown to the left, and the normal to the right – some distinctions have been lost over time.

list all 7
בּb
כּk
ךּk̰̇k
פּp
תּt
   
   
בvv
כxx/χ
ךxx/χ
פff
תtt

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֽ

U+05BD HEBREW POINT METEG

Description in the Unicode standard:

= siluq
• may be used as a Hebrew accent sof pasuq

Hebrew מֶתֶג meteg

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

־

U+05BE HEBREW PUNCTUATION MAQAF

Hebrew - מַקָּף‬ maqaf

Used as a hyphen between words, eg. תל־אביב ṫl-ʔvyv Tel Aviv.

It is well used in typography, but less common online because it is not always available on keyboards. Therefore, - [U+002D HYPHEN-MINUS] is often substituted, even though the position of that character is too low when displayed.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ֿ

U+05BF HEBREW POINT RAFE

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (hebrew point judeo-spanish varika - FB1E)

Hebrew רפה rafe

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

׀

U+05C0 HEBREW PUNCTUATION PASEQ

Description in the Unicode standard:

= legarmeh
• may be treated as spacing punctuation, not as a point
→ (vertical line - 007C)

Hebrew paseq

Word separator in biblical and liturgical use. wp

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ׁ

U+05C1 HEBREW POINT SHIN DOT

Hebrew ̎

Hebrew has two phonemes, s and ʃ, that are represented by a single consonant character, ש [U+05E9 HEBREW LETTER SHIN]. If it is necessary to indicate which is intended, two diacritics used only with this character, do the job: ׂ [U+05C2 HEBREW POINT SIN DOT] and ׁ [U+05C1 HEBREW POINT SHIN DOT]. They look identical, but the side to which they are positioned makes the difference.

This character appears top right, ie. שׁ, and produces ʃ.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

ׂ

U+05C2 HEBREW POINT SIN DOT

Hebrew ̍

Hebrew has two phonemes, s and ʃ, that are represented by a single consonant character, ש [U+05E9 HEBREW LETTER SHIN]. If it is necessary to indicate which is intended, two diacritics used only with this character, do the job: ׂ [U+05C2 HEBREW POINT SIN DOT] and ׁ [U+05C1 HEBREW POINT SHIN DOT]. They look identical, but the side to which they are positioned makes the difference.

This character appears top left, ie. שׂ, and produces s.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

׃

U+05C3 HEBREW PUNCTUATION SOF PASUQ

Description in the Unicode standard:

• may be used as a Hebrew punctuation colon
→ (colon - 003A)

Hebrew סוֹף פָּסוּק sof pasuq

Used in prayer books and similar as a full stop. wc

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

״

U+05F4 HEBREW PUNCTUATION GERSHAYIM

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (quotation mark - 0022)

Hebrew ¨ גֵּרְשַׁיִם gershayim

Placed before the last character of a word to indicate that this is an acronym, eg. צה״ל .

Where keyboards do not support this character, ASCII U+0022 QUOTATION MARK is commonly used. This is visually substandard, however, since it doesn't align with the top of the hebrew characters like gershaym.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

׳

U+05F3 HEBREW PUNCTUATION GERESH

Description in the Unicode standard:

→ (apostrophe - 0027)

Hebrew ´ גֵּרֶשׁ ˈɡeʁeʃ

Hebrew equivalent of a period in abbreviations.

Also used to modify consonants to create non-native sounds.

The following are found in slang and loanwords that are part of the everyday Hebrew colloquial vocabulary:

  • ʧ with צ or ץ, eg. ריצ׳רץ׳ riʧraʧ (zip)
  • ʤ with ג , eg. ג׳וּק ʤuk (roach)
  • ʒ with ז , eg. זָ׳רְגוֹן ʒarɡon (jargon)
  • w as non-standard orthography for transcriptions, eg. עָוָנְטָה awanta (boastful act). This sound can also be written using װ [U+05F0 HEBREW LIGATURE YIDDISH DOUBLE VAV].

Geresh is also used to transcribe other sounds not in the hebrew phonology when transliterating (rather than adoption via loanwords).

  • ð with ד, ie. Arabic ذ, eg. ד׳ו אל-חיג׳ה (Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة)‎). Also used for the English voiced th. Sometimes just ד is used.
  • θ with ת or ץ, ie. Arabic , eg. ת׳רסטון (Thurston).
  • χ with ח, ie. Arabic خ, eg. שייח׳ (Sheikh (شيخ)‎). Used to specify χ rather than the possible h of ח.
  • ʁ with ר, ie. Arabic غ, eg. ר׳ג׳ר ( Ghajar).

Where keyboards do not support this character, ASCII U+0027 APOSTROPHE is commonly used. This is visually substandard, however, since it doesn't align with the top of the hebrew characters like geresh.

General sources: Daniels, Unicode, Wikipedia

׆

U+05C6 HEBREW PUNCTUATION NUN HAFUKHA

Hebrew punctuation, reversed nun / inverted nun / nun hafukha / nun menuzerret

Rare biblical character that is not part of a word or read aloud in any way, but serves solely to mark up text. Used surrounded by spaces. wp

"While it depends on the particular manuscript or printed edition, it is found in nine places: twice in the Book of Numbers (prior to and after Numbers 10:34-36), and seven times in Psalm 107. It is uncertain today what it was intended to signify." wp

There are numerous different glyph forms for this character, depending on the manuscript. For examples, see wikipedia.

Refs: Wikipedia

Puncta extraordinaria

ׄ

U+05C4 HEBREW MARK UPPER DOT

ׅ

U+05C5 HEBREW MARK LOWER DOT

References

  1. [ d ] Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, The World's Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0, pp487-497
  2. [ w ] Wikipedia, Hebrew alphabet
  3. [ wc ] Wikipedia, Cantillation
  4. [ wp ] Wikipedia, Hebrew punctuation
  5. [ u ] The Unicode Standard v11.0
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