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Title: Tzade  
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Subject: Shin (letter), Zayin, Teth, Ayin, Nun (letter), Military Police Corps (Israel)
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Ṣade (also spelled Ṣādē, Tsade, Ṣaddi, Ṣad, Tzadi, Sadhe, Tzaddik) is the eighteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew Ṣadi צ and Arabic Ṣād ص. Its oldest sound value is probably /t͡sˤ/, although there is a variety of pronunciation in different modern Semitic languages and their dialects. It represents the coalescence of three Proto-Semitic "emphatic consonants" in Canaanite. Arabic, which kept the phonemes separate, introduced variants of ṣād and ṭāʾ to express the three (see ḍād, ẓāʾ). In Aramaic, these emphatic consonants coalesced instead with ʿayin and ṭēt, respectively, thus Hebrew ereẓ ארץ (earth) is araʿ ארע in Aramaic.

The Phoenician letter is continued in the Greek San (Ϻ) and possibly Sampi (Ϡ), and in Etruscan 𐌑 Ś. It may have inspired the form of the letter Tse in the Glagolitic alphabet.

The corresponding letter of the Ugaritic alphabet is 𐎕 ṣade.

Hebrew speakers often pronounce the name of this letter as tsadiq (meaning "righteous person"; see Tzadik), though this use probably originated from a fast recitation of the alphabet (i.e., "tsadi, qoph" -> "tsadiq, qoph").[1]


The origin of Ṣade is unclear. It may have come from a Middle Bronze Age glyph based on a pictogram of a plant, perhaps a papyrus plant, or a fish hook (in Modern Hebrew, צד tsad means "[he] hunt[ed]", and in Arabic صاد ṣād means "[he] hunted").

Hebrew Tsadi

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Ashkenazi Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
non final צ צ צ
final ץ ץ ץ

Hebrew spelling: צָדִי


In modern Hebrew, the name Tsadi is sometimes pronounced tsadik, though this is regarded by many speakers as incorrect. In transliteration, it may also be transliterated as "tz" instead of "ts", as Tzadi or Tzadik.


Ṣadi, like Kaph, Mem, Pe, and Nun, has a final form, used at the end of words. Its shape changes from this: צ to ץ. The pronunciation does not change.


In Modern Israeli Hebrew, Ṣadi represents //. This is the same in Yiddish language. Historically, it likely represented a pharyngealized /t͡sˤ/; which became ] in Ashkenazi pronunciation and is preserved as [sˤ] amongst Yemenite Jews and other Jews from the Middle East.

A geresh can also be placed after it (צ׳  ץ׳), giving it the sound ], e.g. צ׳יפּס čips, meaning "chips".


In gematria, Ṣadi represents the number 90. Its final form represents 900 but this is rarely used, Taw, Tav, and Qof (400+400+100) being used instead.

As an abbreviation, it stands for ṣafon, North.

Ṣadi is also one of the seven letters which receive a special crown (called tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah. See Shin, ‘Ayin, Ṭet, Nun, Zayin, and Gimmel.

Arabic Ṣād

The letter is named ṣād ; Modern Standard Arabic pronunciation: /sˤ/. In Persian, its pronunciation is not distinguishable from س or ث, all are pronounced ].

It is written in several ways depending in its position in the word:

The quran, chapter 38 named after this letter, سورة ص.

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ص ـص ـصـ صـ

Character encodings

See also


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