From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Phonemic representationt (also θ, s)
Position in alphabet22
Numerical value400
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician
GreekΤ, Χ
LatinT, X
CyrillicТ, Х

Taw, tav, or taf is the twenty-second and last letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician tāw 𐤕, Hebrew tav ת, Aramaic taw 𐡕‎, Syriac taw ܬ, and Arabic tāʾ ت (22nd in abjadi order, 3rd in modern order). In Arabic, it also gives rise to the derived letter ث ṯāʾ. Its original sound value is /t/.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek tau (Τ), Latin T, and Cyrillic Т.



Taw is believed to be derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph representing a tally mark.[citation needed]

Hieroglyph Proto-Sinaitic Phoenician Paleo-Hebrew

Arabic tāʾ


The letter is named tāʼ. It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
ت ـت ـتـ تـ

Final ـَتْ (fatha, then tāʼ with a sukun on it, pronounced /at/, though diacritics are normally omitted) is used to mark feminine gender for third-person perfective/past tense verbs, while final تَ (tāʼ-fatḥa, /ta/) is used to mark past-tense second-person singular masculine verbs, final تِ (tāʼ-kasra, /ti/) to mark past-tense second-person singular feminine verbs, and final تُ (tāʼ-ḍamma, /tu/) to mark past-tense first-person singular verbs. The plural form of Arabic letter ت is tāʼāt (تاءات), a palindrome.

Recently, the isolated ت has been used online as an emoticon, because it resembles a smiling face.[1]

Tā' marbūṭa


An alternative form called tāʼ marbūṭa (ـَة, ة) (تَاءْ مَرْبُوطَة), "bound tāʼ ") is used at the end of words to mark feminine gender for nouns and adjectives. Regular tāʼ, to distinguish it from tāʼ marbūṭa, is referred to as tāʼ maftūḥa (تَاءْ مَفْتُوحَة, "open tāʼ").

Position in word Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
ة ـة ـة ة

In words such as رِسَالَة ('letter, message, epistle'), the fatha (/a/) + tāʼ marbūṭa combination (ـَة) is transliterated as -a or -ah (risāla or risālah), and pronounced as /-a/ (as if there were only a fatha). Historically, tāʼ marbūṭa was pronounced as the /t/ sound in all positions, but now the /t/ sound is dropped in coda positions.

However, when a word ending with a tāʼ marbūṭa is suffixed with a grammatical case ending or any other suffix, the /t/ is clearly pronounced. For example, the word رِسَالَة ('letter, message', 'epistle') is pronounced as risāla in pausa but is pronounced risālatun in the nominative case (/un/ being the nominative case ending), risālatin in the genitive case (/in/ being the genitive case ending), and risālatan in the accusative case (/an/ being the accusative case ending). When the possessive suffix ('my') is added, it becomes risālatī ('my letter') . The /t/ is also always pronounced when the word is in construct state (iḍāfa), for example in Risālat al-Ghufrān ('The Epistle of Forgiveness').

The isolated and final forms of this letter combine the shape of hāʼ (ه) and the two dots of tāʼ (ت). When words containing the symbol are borrowed into other languages written in the Arabic script, such as Persian, tāʼ marbūṭa usually becomes either a regular ه or a regular ت.

Hebrew tav

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

Hebrew spelling: תָו

Hebrew pronunciation


The letter tav in Modern Hebrew usually represents a voiceless alveolar plosive: /t/.

Variations on written form and pronunciation


The letter tav is one of the six letters that can receive a dagesh kal diacritic; the others are bet, gimel, dalet, kaph and pe. Bet, kaph and pe have their sound values changed in modern Hebrew from the fricative to the plosive, by adding a dagesh. In modern Hebrew, the other three do not change their pronunciation with or without a dagesh, but they have had alternate pronunciations at other times and places.

In traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation, tav represents an /s/ without the dagesh and has the plosive form when it has the dagesh. Among Yemen and some Sephardi areas, tav without a dagesh represented a voiceless dental fricative /θ/—a pronunciation hailed by the Sfath Emeth work as wholly authentic, while the tav with the dagesh is the plosive /t/. In traditional Italian pronunciation, tav without a dagesh is sometimes /d/.[clarification needed]

Tav with a geresh (ת׳‎) is sometimes used in order to represent the TH digraph in loanwords.

Significance of tav


In gematria, tav represents the number 400, the largest single number that can be represented without using the sophit (final) forms (see kaph, mem, nun, pe, and tzade).

In representing names from foreign languages, a geresh or chupchik can also be placed after the tav (ת׳), making it represent /θ/. (See also: Hebraization of English)

In Judaism


Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew word emet, which means 'truth'. The midrash explains that emet is made up of the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph, mem, and tav: אמת). Sheqer (שקר, falsehood), on the other hand, is made up of the 19th, 20th, and 21st (and penultimate) letters.

Thus, truth is all-encompassing, while falsehood is narrow and deceiving. In Jewish mythology it was the word emet that was carved into the head of the golem which ultimately gave it life. But when the letter aleph was erased from the golem's forehead, what was left was "met"—dead. And so the golem died.

Ezekiel 9:4 depicts a vision in which the tav plays a Passover role similar to the blood on the lintel and doorposts of a Hebrew home in Egypt.[2] In Ezekiel's vision, the Lord has his angels separate the demographic wheat from the chaff by going through Jerusalem, the capital city of ancient Israel, and inscribing a mark, a tav, "upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."

In Ezekiel's vision, then, the Lord is counting tav-marked Israelites as worthwhile to spare, but counts the people worthy of annihilation who lack the tav and the critical attitude it signifies. In other words, looking askance at a culture marked by dire moral decline is a kind of shibboleth for loyalty and zeal for God.[3]

Sayings with taf


"From aleph to taf" describes something from beginning to end, the Hebrew equivalent of the English "From A to Z."

Syriac taw


In the Syriac alphabet, as in the Hebrew and Phoenician alphabets, taw (ܬܰܐܘ) or tăw (ܬܲܘ or ܬܰܘ) is the final letter in the alphabet, most commonly representing the voiceless dental stop [] and fricative [θ] consonant pair, differentiated phonemically by hard and soft markings. When left as unmarked ܬ ܬ ܬ or marked with a qūššāyā dot above the letter ܬ݁ ܬ݁ ܬ݁ indicating 'hard' pronunciation, it is realized as a plosive /t/. When the phoneme is marked with a rūkkāḵā dot below the letter ܬ݂ ܬ݂ ܬ݂ indicating 'soft' pronunciation, the phone is spirantized to a fricative /θ/. Hard taw (taw qšīṯā) is Romanized as a plain t, while the soft form of the letter (taw rakkīḵtā) is transliterated as or th.


Character encodings

Character information
Preview ת ت ܬ
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 1514 U+05EA 1578 U+062A 1836 U+072C
UTF-8 215 170 D7 AA 216 170 D8 AA 220 172 DC AC
Numeric character reference ת ת ت ت ܬ ܬ

Character information
Preview 𐎚 𐡕 𐤕
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 2069 U+0815 66458 U+1039A 67669 U+10855 67861 U+10915
UTF-8 224 160 149 E0 A0 95 240 144 142 154 F0 90 8E 9A 240 144 161 149 F0 90 A1 95 240 144 164 149 F0 90 A4 95
UTF-16 2069 0815 55296 57242 D800 DF9A 55298 56405 D802 DC55 55298 56597 D802 DD15
Numeric character reference ࠕ ࠕ 𐎚 𐎚 𐡕 𐡕 𐤕 𐤕

See also



  1. ^ "Smileys Symbols ㋡ ㋛ ☺ ☹ ☻ 〠 シ ッ ツ ヅ". www.i2symbol.com. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  2. ^ Exodus 12:7,12.
  3. ^ Cf. the New Testament's condemnation of lukewarmness in Revelation 3:15-16