Zhe (Cyrillic)
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Zhe Cyrillic
Cyrillic letter Zhe
Cyrillic letter Zhe - uppercase and lowercase.svg
Phonetic usage:[?], [?]
The Cyrillic script
Slavic letters
Non-Slavic letters
Archaic letters

Zhe (? ?; italics: ? ?) is a letter of the Cyrillic script.

It commonly represents the voiced palato-alveolar sibilant /?/ (listen), or the somewhat similar voiced retroflex sibilant /?/ (listen), like the pronunciation of ⟨s⟩ in "treasure".

Zhe is romanized as ⟨zh⟩ or ⟨?⟩.


It is not known how the character for Zhe was derived. No similar letter exists in Greek, Latin or any other alphabet of the time, though there is some graphic similarity with its Glagolitic counterpart Zhivete ⟨?⟩ (Image: Glagolitic capital letter Zhivete.svg) which represents the same sound. However, the origin of Zhivete, like that of most Glagolitic letters, is unclear. One possibility is that it was formed from two connecting Hebrew letters Shin ⟨?⟩, the bottom one inverted.[]

It may be a ligature, formed from combining two "K" letters (one backward form) sharing a common stem.[]

In the Early Cyrillic alphabet the name of Zhe was (?iv?te), meaning "live" (imperative).

Zhe was not used in the Cyrillic numeral system.


Zhe is used in the alphabets of all Slavic languages using a Cyrillic alphabet, and of most non-Slavic languages which use a Cyrillic alphabet. The position in the alphabet and the sound represented by the letter vary from language to language.

Zhe can also be used in Leet speak or faux Cyrillic in place of the letter ⟨x⟩, or to represent the symbol of the rap duo Kris Kross (a ligature of two back-to-back letter K's).


? is most often transliterated as the digraph ⟨zh⟩ for English-language readers (as in Doctor Zhivago, , or Georgy Zhukov, ? ). In linguistics and for Central European readers, it is most often transliterated as ⟨?⟩, with a há?ek. The scientific transliteration convention comes from Czech spelling and is also used in the Latin alphabets of several other Slavic languages (Slovak, Sorbian, Serbo-Croatian and Slovene). Thus, Leonid Brezhnev's surname ( ?) could be transliterated as "Bre?nev", as it is spelled in a number of Slavic languages. Polish uses its own convention for transliteration of Cyrillic according to which ? is transliterated with the Polish letter ? (which is pronounced /?/ in Polish). ? is often transliterated ⟨j⟩ in Mongolian because of its pronunciation as IPA: [t].

Related letters and other similar characters

Computing codes

Character information
Preview Ж ж
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1046 U+0416 1078 U+0436
UTF-8 208 150 D0 96 208 182 D0 B6
Numeric character reference Ж Ж ж ж
Named character reference Ж ж
KOI8-R and KOI8-U 246 F6 214 D6
Code page 855 234 EA 233 E9
Code page 866 134 86 166 A6
Windows-1251 198 C6 230 E6
ISO-8859-5 182 B6 214 D6
Macintosh Cyrillic 134 86 230 E6

External links

  • The dictionary definition of ? at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of ? at Wiktionary

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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