What is the origin of ankh?
Ankh “a tau (T-shaped) cross with a loop at the top” is a borrowing from Egyptian ʿnh̬ “live; life, soul.” In this word, ʿ represents a voiced throaty sound that does not exist in English, and h̬ represents the sound spelled as ch in German Buch, Hebrew Chanukah, and Scottish loch. While Arabic is the official language of Egypt today, the Egyptian language was spoken in the country for thousands of years until its latest form, Coptic, became largely extinct in the 1700s. Although the Egyptian source of ankh is transliterated today as ʿnh̬, while its spelling remained consistent in Egyptian hieroglyphics, its pronunciation during the several stages of the Egyptian language varied greatly. Ankh was first recorded in English in the late 1880s.