al·​lo·​phone ˈa-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce allophone (audio)
: one of two or more variants of the same phoneme
the aspirated \p\ of pin and the unaspirated \p\ of spin are allophones of the phoneme \p\
allophonic adjective

Word History


allo- + -phone entry 1

First Known Use

1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of allophone was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near allophone

Cite this Entry

“Allophone.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on allophone

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!