phoneme

play
noun pho·neme \ˈfō-ˌnēm\

Definition of phoneme

  1. :  any of the abstract units of the phonetic system of a language that correspond to a set of similar speech sounds (such as the velar \k\ of cool and the palatal \k\ of keel) which are perceived to be a single distinctive sound in the language

Examples of phoneme in a sentence

  1. The sounds represented by c and b are different phonemes, as in the words cat and bat.

Origin and Etymology of phoneme

French phonème, from Greek phōnēmat-, phōnēma speech sound, utterance, from phōnein to sound


First Known Use: 1879

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


PHONEME Defined for English Language Learners

phoneme

play
noun pho·neme \ˈfō-ˌnēm\

Definition of phoneme for English Language Learners

  • linguistics : the smallest unit of speech that can be used to make one word different from another word


PHONEME Defined for Kids

phoneme

play
noun pho·neme \ˈfō-ˌnēm\

Definition of phoneme for Students

  1. :  one of the smallest units of speech that distinguish one utterance from another


Medical Dictionary

phoneme

play
noun pho·neme \ˈfō-ˌnēm\

Medical Definition of phoneme

  1. :  a member of the set of the smallest units of speech that serve to distinguish one utterance from another in a language or dialect the \p\ of English pat and the \f\ of English fat are two different phonemes

phonemic

\fə-ˈnē-mik, fō-\play adjective

phonemically

\-mi-k(ə-)lē\play adverb


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