Answers to the previous quiz

My Thursday quiz was indeed about alphabets, as several of you, including and in particular said. It is interesting, and perhaps a little surprising, how few alphabets or scripts give their letters actual names that mean something rather than just call them roughly something like the sound they stand for. It’s also interesting just how rapidly the meanings of the letters get lost in the historical murk, hence the uncertainty in some of the clues given. The answers are as follows:

First list – the Phoenician / Hebrew alphabet

  • the head of an ox – Aleph – root of our letter A
  • a house – Beth – root of our letter B
  • a camel’s hump, or possibly a boomerang-like throwing stick – Gimel – root of our letters C and G
  • a door, or possibly a fish – Daleth – root of our letter D
  • jubilation, or possibly a window – He – root of our letter E


  • a hook – Waw – root of our letters F, U, V, W and Y

Second list – the Elder Futhark

  • money/wealth/cattle – Fehu
  • a wild ox or possibly water – Uruz
  • a monster – Thurisaz
  • a divine being (actually one of the Æsir, but to be that specific would have given it away) – Ansuz


  • – a ride or a journey – Raido (one of the few which looks like the Latin equivalent)

Third list – the Ogham alphabet

  • the birch tree – Beith
  • flame or a herb, or possibly the rowan tree – Luis
  • the alder tree – Fern
  • the willow tree – Sail
  • a fork – Nion


  • horror, or possibly the whitethorn – Uath

Thanks for playing, those of you who did!

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