ס The fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The name of the letter, ‘Samekh’, prob. derives from סמך and lit. means ‘support, fulcrum’; so called in allusion to its ancient Heb. form. In PBH it has the numerical value of sixty. When (as in most cases) it is an independent sibilant (beside שׂ and שׁ), its Arab. correspondence is s; cp. e.g. אָסַר and Arab. ’asara (= he bound, tied). Sometimes, however, it is secondary standing for orig. שׂ, in which case its Arab. equivalent is sh; cp. e.g. Heb. סְתָו and Arab. shitā’ (= winter). This change of שׂ to ס is quite frequent in NH and in Aram.; in Syriac the שׂ has been replaced entirely by ס. ס alternates also with ז (see the introductory article to letter ז). It often becomes צ, esp. in the vicinity of ח or emphatic sounds; cp. e.g. סחן ᴵ (= to be strong), with Arab. ḥaṣuna (= was strong); קסם (= to practice divination), with Syr. קְצַם (= he practiced divination); פֶּסַח (= Passover) with Syr. פֶּצְחָא (of s.m.); עקץ (= to sting, prick) with Syr. עַקֵּס (= it stung, it pricked). In some rare cases ס represents orig. שׁ; cp. סִרְיוֹן, a secondary form of שִׁרְיוֹן (= coat of arms, armor); Heb. כָּנַס, BAram., Aram. and Syr. כְּנַשׁ (= he gathered, collected).