Samak (𐤎)

Acceptable ways to write it: samak, smk

The letter samak (𐤎) is the fifteenth letter in the Afroasiatic language known as Paleo-Hebrew. The letter has been equated with the letter S and the letter X in the English language. Nonetheless, the letter S is more common in both Paleo-Hebrew and Modern Hebrew when you read over the writings.

The Paleo-Hebrew language or Original Ābarayam language is one spoken with an emphasis on the rauach (breath, wind, spirit). With the language of the Ābarayam, each letter has a meaning and a number associated with it that adds meaning to each word they’re used with. Below you will be able to learn more about the letter in Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and much more. However, you can read more about the Paleo-Hebrew alaph-bayt on Wikipedia.

paleo-hebrew samak
Ābarayt
Paleo-Hebrew
Ancient Hebrew
English
Masoretic Hebrew
Askenazi Hebrew
Israeli Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
Arabic
Aramaic
Syriac (Aramaic)
Greek
Latin
Cyrillic
South Arabian
Ge'ez
Letter
𐤎
S s
ס
س
ܣ
Ξ ξ
N/A
Ѯ ѯ
Transliteration
samak
S
samek
sin
samekh
samekath
xi
N/A
Ksi
Pronunciation
samach
s
samech
sin
samech
samechath
zaɪ
N/A
ksaɪ
Number
60
N/A
60
60
60
60
60
60
60
Definition
Shield, pierce, sharp, support, prop, hate, hand on staff
pillar, support
in progress, support, energy flowing

History of the Meaning

The pictograph of the word is of a prop or something supporting or assisting. The desert of the Ābarayam has many species of thorns and thistles. The picture can be interpreted to be a thorn, which attaches itself to the flesh causing pain. Our English word “sin” comes from this letter as it also causes pain in our flesh.

History of the letter S

The visual appearance of the letter S was introduced in 3600 BCE (325 AM). Early “S’s” appeared 3,600 years ago as a horizontal, curvy “W” shape, meant to denote an archer’s bow. Phoenicians added an angularity that looks more like our “W’s” At this stage it was known as “shin” meaning “tooth.” The early Greeks rotated it to the vertical and called it “sigma” with the “s” sound — and the Romans flipped it.

The origins of the long s ( ſ ) can be traced all the way back to old Roman cursive, a script used in Rome for everyday, informal writing from the first century AD to about the third century. In this script, the letter s was written as a vertical downstroke with a small curve at the end of it, and a diagonal upstroke at the top. It looked almost like a checkmark, with an added diagonal line on top of it.

In the late eighteenth century saw the long s dropped en mass from printed works. By the early nineteenth century, most printers had only one type of s in their arsenal—the short one—and the people who made the type for the printing presses stopped making the long s. The process was slower and more gradual in handwriting, though, where the long s hung on until the second half of the nineteenth century.

History of the letter X

The visual appearance of the letter X was introduced in 1460 BCE (5385 AM). The ancient Greeks had a letter “ksi” which sounded like our “X.” Lower case “x’s” arrive via handwritten manuscripts of early medieval times and the Italian printers of the late 15th century. Both in classical Ancient Greek and in Modern Greek, the letter Ξ represents the consonant cluster /ks/. In some archaic local variants of the Greek alphabet, this letter was missing. Instead, especially in the dialects of most of the Greek mainland and Euboea, the cluster /ks/ was represented by Χ (which in classical Greek is chi, used for /kʰ/).

Because this variant of the Greek alphabet was used in Magna Graecia (the Greek colonies in Sicilly and the southern part of the Italian peninsula), the Latin alphabet borrowed Χ rather than Ξ as the Latin letter that represented the /ks/ cluster that was also present in Latin.