diph·​thong | \ ˈdif-ˌthȯŋ How to pronounce diphthong (audio) , ˈdip- \

Definition of diphthong

1 linguistics : a gliding (see glide entry 1 sense 4) monosyllabic speech sound (such as the vowel combination at the end of toy) that starts at or near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves to or toward the position of another
2 linguistics : digraph
3 : the ligature (see ligature sense 4) æ or œ

Other Words from diphthong

diphthongal \ dif-​ˈthȯŋ-​(g)əl How to pronounce diphthong (audio) , dip-​ How to pronounce diphthong (audio) \ adjective

Examples of diphthong in a Sentence

The sounds of “ou” in “out” and of “oy” in “boy” are diphthongs.
Recent Examples on the Web Our heroes come from House Atreides, their elegance enhanced by that smooth classical diphthong. Nate Jones, Vulture, 28 Oct. 2021 The reader can almost hear Camilleri’s longtime translator, Stephen Sartarelli, chuckling over his rendition of Catarella’s chatter as that mishmash of h-dropping Cockney and diphthong-slaying Brooklynese. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 Even the big diphthongs that my grandfather’s years in the States had tamped down swelled back to their former glory in this company. Kevin Dettmar, The New Yorker, 20 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diphthong.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of diphthong

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for diphthong

Middle English diptonge, from Middle French diptongue, from Late Latin dipthongus, from Greek diphthongos, from di- + phthongos voice, sound

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The first known use of diphthong was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Diphthong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diphthong. Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for diphthong


diph·​thong | \ ˈdif-ˌthȯŋ How to pronounce diphthong (audio) , ˈdip- \

Kids Definition of diphthong

: two vowel sounds joined in one syllable to form one speech sound The sounds of "ou" in "out" and of "oy" in "boy" are diphthongs.

More from Merriam-Webster on diphthong

Nglish: Translation of diphthong for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about diphthong


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