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This article is about the Semitic letter. For the town in Nepal, see Resh, Nepal.
Phonemic representation r, ɾ, ʁ, ʀ
Position in alphabet 20
Numerical value 200
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Resh is the twentieth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Rēsh Phoenician res.svg, Hebrew Rēsh ר, Aramaic Rēsh Resh.svg, Syriac Rēsh ܪ, and Arabic Rāʾ ر. Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually [r] or [ɾ], but also [ʁ] or [ʀ] in Hebrew.

In most Semitic alphabets, the letter resh (and its equivalents) is quite similar to the letter dalet (and its equivalents). In the Syriac alphabet, the letters became so similar that now they are only distinguished by a dot: resh has a dot above the letter, and the otherwise identical dalet has a dot below the letter. In the Arabic alphabet, rāʼ has a longer tail than dāl. In the Aramaic and Hebrew square alphabet, resh is a rounded single stroke while dalet is a right-angle of two strokes. The similarity led to the variant spellings of the name Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Rho (Ρ), Etruscan EtruscanR-01.svg, Latin R, and Cyrillic Р.


The word resh is usually assumed to have come from a pictogram of a head, ultimately reflecting Proto-Semitic *raʾ(i)š-. The word's East Semitic cognate, rēš-, was one possible phonetic reading of the Sumerian cuneiform sign for "head" (SAG 𒊕, B184ellst.png) in Akkadian.

In Hebrew[edit]

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ר ר ר Hebrew letter Resh handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Resh Rashi.png

Hebrew spelling: רֵישׁ

In Hebrew, Resh represents a rhotic consonant that has different realizations for different dialects:

Resh, along with Ayin, Aleph, Hei, and Het, is one of the letters that does not receive a dagesh by convention. In the Yemenite tradition, Resh is treated as most other consonants in that it can receive a dagesh hazak under certain circumstances. And in the most widely accepted version of the Hebrew Bible, there exist 17 cases where Resh is marked with a dagesh.[citation needed]

Resh in gematria represents the number 200.

As an abbreviation[edit]

Resh as an abbreviation can stand for Rabbi (or Rav, Rebbe, Rabban, Rabbenu, and other similar constructions).

Resh may be found after a person's name on a gravestone to indicate that they were a Rabbi or to indicate the other use of Rav, as a generic term for a teacher or a personal spiritual guide.

Spelling out[edit]

Resh is used in an Israeli phrase; after a child will say something false, one might say "B'Shin Quf, Resh" (With Shin, Quf, Resh). These letters spell Sheqer, which is the Hebrew word for a lie. It would be akin to an English speaker saying "That's a L-I-E."

Arabic rāʾ[edit]

The letter is named rāʾ/"rāy"/"rays" راء in Arabic. It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ر ـر ـر ر

It ranges between an alveolar trill [r] or a tap [ɾ].

The Unicode standard for Arabic scripts also lists a variant with a full stroke (Unicode character 0x075b: ݛ), suggesting that this form is used in certain Northern and Western African languages and some dialects in Pakistan.[1]

Character encodings[edit]

Character ר ر ܪ
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1512 U+05E8 1585 U+0631 1834 U+072A 2067 U+0813
UTF-8 215 168 D7 A8 216 177 D8 B1 220 170 DC AA 224 160 147 E0 A0 93
Numeric character reference ר ר ر ر ܪ ܪ ࠓ ࠓ
Character 𐎗 𐡓 𐤓
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66455 U+10397 67667 U+10853 67859 U+10913
UTF-8 240 144 142 151 F0 90 8E 97 240 144 161 147 F0 90 A1 93 240 144 164 147 F0 90 A4 93
UTF-16 55296 57239 D800 DF97 55298 56403 D802 DC53 55298 56595 D802 DD13
Numeric character reference 𐎗 𐎗 𐡓 𐡓 𐤓 𐤓


  1. ^ Allen, Julie D.; Anderson, Deborah; et al. (eds.). The Unicode Standard, Version 6.2 (PDF). Unicode Consortium. p. 265. 

External links[edit]