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Phonemic representationr (ɾ, ʁ, ʀ)
Position in alphabet20
Numerical value200
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Resh (ipa:/ɹɛʃ/) is the twentieth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician rēš 𐤓, Hebrew rēš ר, Aramaic rēš 𐡓‎, Syriac rēš 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 and North Mesopotamian Arabic.

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 Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek rho (Ρ/ρ), Etruscan , Latin R, and Cyrillic Р.


resh is usually assumed to mean head, as in Proto-Semitic *raʾ(i)š- and descendants.

Arabic rāʾ[edit]

The letter is named rāʾ 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], an alveolar flap [ɾ], and a uvular trill [ʀ] (the last of which is only found in a few modern varieties). It is pronounced as a postalveolar approximant [ɹ̠] in the traditional dialect of Fes.[1]

Derived letter in other languages[edit]

Position in word Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
ݛ ـݛ ـݛ ݛ

The Unicode standard for Arabic scripts also lists a variant with a full stroke (Unicode character U+075b: ݛ), suggesting that this form is used in certain Northern and Western African languages and some dialects in Pakistan.[2]

Hebrew resh[edit]

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ר ר ר

Hebrew spelling: רֵישׁ

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

As a general rule, Resh, along with Ayin, Aleph, He, and Het, do not receive a dagesh. There are a handful of exception to this rule.[3] In the Yemenite tradition, Resh is treated as most other consonants in that it can receive a dagesh hazak under certain circumstances. In the most widely accepted version of the Hebrew Bible, there are 17 instances of Resh being marked with a dagesh.[4] The list is: 1 Samuel 1:6, 1 Samuel 10:24, 1 Samuel 17:25, 2 Kings 6:32, Jeremiah 39:12, Ezekiel 16:4 [×2], Habakkuk 3:13, Psalms 52:5, Proverbs 3:8, Proverbs 11:21, Proverbs 14:10, Proverbs 15:1, Job 39:9 (?[5]'), Song of Songs 5:2, Ezra 9:6, 2 Chronicles 26:10 (?[6])

In gematria, Resh represents the number 200.

As 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 the person had been 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 says something false, one may 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 an L-I-E."

Character encodings[edit]

Character information
Preview ר ر ܪ
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex dec 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 information
Preview 𐎗 𐡓 𐤓
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec 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. ^ Hachimi, Atiqa (2012-05-23). "The urban and the urbane: Identities, language ideologies, and Arabic dialects in Morocco". Language in Society. 41 (3): 321–341. doi:10.1017/s0047404512000279. ISSN 0047-4045. S2CID 144607607.
  2. ^ Allen, Julie D.; Anderson, Deborah; et al. (eds.). The Unicode Standard, Version 6.2 (PDF). Unicode Consortium. p. 265.
  3. ^ Book Em laMikra haShalem written by Nisan Sharoni In Chapter 14:7 page 62 of the Ashdod. ספר אם למקרא השׁלם על ידי ניסן שׁרוני ׀ אשׁדוֹד ׀ תשׁס״א ׀ עמוד 62 In the 7 article of the chapter, the Rav says that the letters ״אהחער״ generally do not take a dagesh. ₪ בּאוֹתיוֹת ״אהחער״ ־לֹא יָבֹא דָגֵשׁ, בְּדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל. ₪ מכלול נז In the footnote 6 — Not to write it in Hebrew — ; it says: Except in a few cases where there is an exception to the rule… dagesh can be seen in Alef and Reish. See Mesorah haGedolah 43:26 and מכלול נז Minchas Shai 43:26.
  4. ^ "Unexpected Dagesh in Reish". Mi Yodeya. Retrieved 2024-01-02.
  5. ^ "Tanach Simanim (Hebrew Only)". www.feldheim.com. Retrieved 2024-01-02.
  6. ^ "Tanach Simanim (Hebrew Only)". www.feldheim.com. Retrieved 2024-01-02.

External links[edit]