Zayan (𐤆)

Acceptable ways to write it: zayn, zayan, zyn,

The letter zayn (𐤆) is the seventh letter in the Afroasiatic language known as Paleo-Hebrew. The letter has been equated with the letter Z in the English language. Also, the letter is one of the few that has not been impacted by the evolution of language over time

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 zayn
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
𐤆
Z z
ז
ز
ܙ
Ζ ζ
Z z
З з
ዘ ዠ
Transliteration
zayn
Z
zayin
zayn or zay
zain
zayn
Zeta
Z
Ze
Pronunciation
zz-ay-in
z
'Zayin
Zayn
Zain
Zayn
ˈziːtə
z
ze
Number
7
N/A
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
Definition
Plow, weapon, cut off, sickle, harvest, food, feed, crown, ax, sword
weapon
Separation, Slice

History of the Meaning

The pictograph of the word is an ax, mattock, or weapon used for agriculture while working the crop fields. Similar to the pickaxe, a mattock has a long handle and a stout head which combines either a vertical ax blade with a horizontal adze or a pick and an adze. The meanings of this letter are “harvest,” “food” as from the harvest, “cut” from the function of the implement, and “broad” from its shape. The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is zayin but was originally the parent root zan.

History of the letter Z

The letter Z was introduced in 979 BCE (2946 AM). The letter “Z” might be the last letter of the alphabet, but it’s an elder of the alphabet. Three thousand years ago the Phoenicians used a letter called “zayn,” meaning “ax.” It looked like an uppercase “I” with top and bottom serifs. The Greeks adopted it as “zeta” around 800 BC, when it evolved into our modern “Z” shape (and also led to the creation of our “G”) with the sound of “dz.” The letter fell into disuse for several centuries, until the Norman French arrived with words that used the “Z” sound.

In most English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the letter’s name is zed /zɛd/, reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta (this dates to Latin, which borrowed X, Y, and Z from Greek, along with their names), but in American English, its name is zee /ziː/, analogous to the names for B, C, D, etc., and deriving from a late 17th-century English dialectal form.

The Semitic symbol was the seventh letter, named zayin, which meant “weapon” or “sword”. It represented either the sound /z/ as in English and French, or possibly more like /dz/ (as in Italian zeta, zero).

The Greek form of Z was a close copy of the Phoenician Zayin (Zayin), and the Greek inscriptional form remained in this shape throughout ancient times. The Greeks called it zeta, a new name made in imitation of eta (η) and theta (θ).

In earlier Greek of Athens and Northwest Greece, the letter seems to have represented /dz/; in Attic, from the 4th century BC onwards, it seems to have stood for /zd/ and /dz/ – there is no consensus concerning this issue. In other dialects, such as Elean and Cretan, the symbol seems to have been used for sounds resembling the English voiced and voiceless th (IPA /ð/ and /θ/, respectively). In the common dialect (koine) that succeeded the older dialects, ζ became /z/, as it remains in modern Greek.

The Etruscan letter Z was derived from the Phoenician alphabet, most probably through the Greek alphabet used on the island of Ischia. In Etruscan, this letter may have represented /ts/.

In Latin, the letter z was part of the earliest form of the Latin alphabet, adopted from Etruscan. Because the sound /z/ in Latin changed to /r/ by rhotacism in the fifth century BC, z was dropped and its place was given to the new letter g. In the 1st century BC, z was reintroduced at the end of the Latin alphabet to represent the sound of the Greek zeta /dz/, as the letter y was introduced to represent the sound of the Greek upsilon /y/. Before the reintroduction of z, the sound of zeta was written s at the beginning of words and ss in the middle of words, as in sōna for ζώνη “belt” and trapessita for τραπεζίτης “banker”.

Old English used S alone for both the unvoiced and the voiced sibilant. The Latin sound imported through French was new and was not written with Z but with G or I. The successive changes can be seen in the doublet forms jealous and zealous. Both of these come from a late Latin zelosus, derived from the imported Greek ζῆλος zêlos. The earlier form is jealous; its initial sound is the voiced postalveolar affricate, which is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages; this developed to Modern French. John Wycliffe wrote the word as gelows or ielous.