ע ‘Ayin’ — the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Lit. meaning ’eye‘, and so called in allusion to the ancient form of this letter. In PBH it has the numerical value seventy. ע alternates with א (see introductory entry to letter א), with ח (see introductory entry to letter ח) and with ק. cp. BAram. אַרְקָא and Aram. אַרֽעָא (= earth; see אֶרֶץ); Heb. קִטֵּר (= he caused to smoke), and Aram. עֲטַר (= it smoked); cp. also Arab. qaṭrān (= tar), borrowed from Aram. עִטֽרָנָא (of s.m.); עַטְלִיז, from אִטֽלִיז (= butcher shop), from Gk. katalysis. In some rare cases the ע disappeared: cp. private name רוּת, prob. contracted from רֽעוּת, and בִּי (= please), which was possibly contracted from בּֽעִי (see בִּי ᴵᴵ).