YOD (י):

Tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The name seems to be connected with "yad," meaning "hand"; the Phenician "yod" remotely resembles a hand in form. The letter is a palatal semivowel, identical in sound with the English "y." Preceded by the cognate vowel "i" (= Eng. "ee"), it blends with it, the resulting combination being long "i." With a preceding a-vowel it forms the diphthong "ai," which in Hebrew (that language having preserved no diphthongal sounds) has become "ē" (= Eng. "ay"). As a radical, "yod" sometimes interchanges with "waw." As a numeral, it has in the later usage the value 10. The Tetragrammaton is sometimes represented by "yod," its first letter.

T. I. Br.
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