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Nefer in hieroglyphs

The Egyptian hieroglyph for "good, pleasant, well, beautiful" in Gardiner's sign list is numbered F35; its phonetic value is nfr, with a reconstructed pronunciation of IPA: [nafir][2] and a conventional Egyptological vocalization of nefer.

Hieroglyphs and symbolism[edit]

The triliteral Egyptian hieroglyph F35 ('nfr') has sometimes been explained as a representation of a lute; however, Egyptologists today no longer consider this hypothesis likely. Rather than a lute, the hieroglyph is actually a representation of the heart and trachea.[1] It originally may have been the esophagus and heart. The striations of the windpipe only appear in the hieroglyph following the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The lower part of the sign has always clearly been the heart, for the markings clearly follow the form of a sheep's heart.[3]


The term nfr has been incorporated into many names in Ancient Egypt. Examples include Nefertiti, Nefertari, and Neferhotep.

The term was consecutively extremely positive considering that it refers to the heart, which to the ancient egyptians was the home of feelings and intent (good and bad).

Some scholars suggest that it was used in ancient Egyptian construction where 'nfrw' was used to denote 'level zero' of a building and in accounting where 'nfr' would refer to a zero balance.[4]

The term was used as a prefix of the name Neferpitou which comes from an Egyptian god, Nefertem, in the anime series Hunter x Hunter (2011).


Nefer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who ruled for two years, one month, and a day, from 2197–2193 BCE, according to the Turin Canon, though he reigned during the reign of Pepi II Neferkare.[5]


  1. ^ a b Erman, Adolf, and Hermann Grapow, eds. 1926–1953. Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache im Auftrage der deutschen Akademien. 6 vols. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs'schen Buchhandlungen. (Reprinted Berlin: Akademie-Verlag GmbH, 1971).
  2. ^ Loprieno, Antonio. Ancient Egyptian: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  3. ^ "Ancient Egypt: the Mythology - Nefer (Beauty)".
  4. ^ Lumpkin, Beatrice (1 March 2002). "Mathematics Used in Egyptian Construction and Bookkeeping". Mathematical Intelligencer. 24: 20–23 – via EBSCO.
  5. ^ "Turin King List". The Ancient Egypt Site. Jacques Kinnaer. 25 July 2009. Archived from the original on 16 June 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2009. IV,10: Nefer.