By Jeff A. Benner


Ancient Modern
Image Open palm  
Meaning Bend, Open, Allow, Tame  
Name Kaph Kaph
Sound k, kh (like the "ch" in the name Bach) k, kh (like the "ch" in the name Bach)

History & Reconstruction

The Ancient form of this letter is the open palm of a hand. The meanings of this letter are bend and curve from the shape of the palm as well as to tame or subdue as one who has been bent to another's will.

The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is kaph, a Hebrew word meaning “palm” and is the original name for the letter. This letter is pronounced as a “k”, as in the word “kaph”, when used as a stop or as a “kh” (pronounced hard like the German name Bach), as in the word “yalakh” (to walk) when used as a spirant.

The Early Semitic evolved into in the Middle Semitic script. This letter continued to evolve into in the Late Semitic script and becoming the Modern Hebrew כ and the ך (final kaph). The Middle Semitic became the Greek and Roman K (written in reverse direction).

Semitic Script Charts