gematria (gih-MAH-tree-uh) listen


  • n. An ancient system of Hebrew numerology in which each Hebrew letter possesses a numerical value, allowing words or phrases to express possible hidden meanings derived by adding the letters' values.

Example Sentences

  • "The gematria of 'chai' is 18."

  • "Quiet! I'm working out the gematria of the bride and bridegroom's names." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew


  • גימטריה, may derive from Greek for "geometry" or "gamma + tria" (Gamma, 3rd letter of alphabet)

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      gamatria, gimatria


  • According to gematria, the letter aleph corresponds with the number 1, while the letter bet represents a value of 2. The Talmud used a semi-decimal approach as the 11th letter is 20, twelfth 30, the nineteenth 100, the twentieth 200, up to 400.

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