|Phonemic representation:||kˤ, q|
|Position in alphabet:||19|
|Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value:||100|
Qoph or Qop (in Modern Hebrew: Qof/Kof, Arabic: Qāf) is the nineteenth letter in many Semitic abjads or alphabets, including the Phoenician, Aramaic, Syriac, and Hebrew 'ק' or the Arabic alphabet qāf 'ق' (in abjadi order). Its sound value is an emphatic [kˤ] or [q]. The OHED (Oxford Hebrew English Dictionary) gives the letter Qoph a transliteration value of 'Q' or 'K' and a final transliteration value as a 'ck'. In Hebrew Gematria, it has the numerical value of 100.
Origins of qoph 
(c.1050 – 200 BCE)
(400 BCE – present)
(200 BCE – present)
(400 CE – present)
The origin of qoph is usually thought to be a sewing needle. Specifically the eye of needle, as the Paleo-Hebrew glyph strongly resembles a needle (In Hebrew, qoph, spelled in Hebrew letters as "קוף", means "hole"). It is also hypothesized[who?] that the qoph could also be a monkey, as they share the same spelling. There are two vocalizations for "קוף". In Hebrew, "qoph" means "monkey" but "quph" means "needle". Both pronunciations are common.
Others[who?] have proposed that it originated from a pictogram of someone's head and neck ("qāf" in Arabic meant "nape"); qaw is also reconstructed as a proto-Afro-Asiatic word for "neck" (ḫḫ in Egyptian), and in some dialects of Arabic, "qāf" is pronounced as a hamza (ء), a glottal stop in the back of the throat — similar to the part of the throat used to make the sound of the qoph. In hieroglyphs, two determinatives for "neck", the F10 and F11 glyphs in the Gardiner's sign list (the F12 glyph for "nape"), are both vertical lines topped with heads with horns. The F10 glyph is a line underneath an ox head (and a cross toward the bottom of the line), which could conceivably have evolved into the Arabic alef with a hamza on top (the pronounced, and sometimes written, Egyptian Arabic way of saying qāf). The Arabic hamza far more closely resembles the earlier iterations of the older Semitic aleph than does the Arabic alef character itself, which is just a vertical line on top of which the hamza can sit. Others say the letter represents a monkey.
Hebrew Qof 
|Various Print Fonts||Cursive
Hebrew spelling: קוֹף
Hebrew Pronunciation 
In modern Israeli Hebrew the letter is also called kuf. The letter represents /k/; i.e., no distinction is made between Qof and Kaph. However, many historical groups have made that distinction, with Qof being pronounced [q] by Iraqi Jews and other Mizrahim, or even as [ɡ] by Yemenite Jews under the influence of Yemeni Arabic.
Significance of Qof 
Qof in gematria represents the number 100. Sarah is described in Genesis Rabba as בת ק' כבת כ' שנה לחטא, literally At Qof years of age, she was like Kaph years of age in sin (i.e. when she was 100 years old, she was as sinless as when she was 20).
Qof is used in an Israeli phrase: after a child will say something false, one might say "B'Shin Qoph, Resh" (With Shin, Qoph, Resh). These letters spell Sheqer, which is the Hebrew word for a lie. It would be akin to an English speaker saying "That's an L-I-E."
Arabic qāf 
The letter ق is named قاف qāf, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
- In Egyptian Arabic, as well as Levantine Arabic and forms of Moroccan Arabic from around Fes, the letter is often pronounced as a glottal stop [ʔ] but is approximated to [k] or preserved in several Modern Standard Arabic loanwords.
- In Sa'idi Arabic (the Arabic of Southern Egypt), in some rural areas of Jordan, parts of the Arabian Peninsula, in a few parts of the Maghreb and some forms of Yemeni Arabic, it is frequently pronounced as a voiced velar plosive [ɡ].
- In Sudanese Arabic and some forms of Yemeni Arabic, it is pronounced as a voiced uvular plosive [ɢ].
- In rural Palestinian Arabic it is often pronounced as a voiceless velar plosive [k].
- In the United Arab Emirates and Gulf Arabic in general, it is pronounced as a voiced postalveolar affricate [d͡ʒ] usually in place of etymological /iq/.
- In some variants of Northwest African Arabic (especially North Tunisian Arabic and the Arabic of the Middle Atlas in Morocco), it retains its MSA pronunciation [q].
This variance has led to the confusion over the spelling of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi's name in Latin letters. In Western Arabic dialects the sound [q] is more preserved but can also be sometimes pronounced [ɡ] or as a simple [k] under Berber and French influence.
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
|Form of letter:||ٯ||ـٯ||ـڧـ||ڧـ|
The Maghrebi style of writing qaf is different. Once the prevalent style, it is now only used in Maghribi countries for writing Qur'an with the exception of Libya which adopted the Mashriqi form. There is no possibility of confusing it with the letter fāʾ as it is written with a dot underneath (ڢ) in the Maghribi script.
Character encodings 
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER QOF||ARABIC LETTER QAF||SYRIAC LETTER QAPH||SAMARITAN LETTER QUF|
|UTF-8||215 167||D7 A7||217 130||D9 82||220 169||DC A9||224 160 146||E0 A0 92|
|Numeric character reference||ק||ק||ق||ق||ܩ||ܩ||ࠒ||ࠒ|
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER QOPA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER QOPH||PHOENICIAN LETTER QOF|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 150||F0 90 8E 96||240 144 161 146||F0 90 A1 92||240 144 164 146||F0 90 A4 92|
|UTF-16||55296 57238||D800 DF96||55298 56402||D802 DC52||55298 56594||D802 DD12|
|Numeric character reference||𐎖||𐎖||𐡒||𐡒||𐤒||𐤒|