Definition of phoneme
: 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
The sounds represented by “c” and “b” are different phonemes, as in the words “cat” and “bat.”
Recent Examples of phoneme from the Web
Next up, game mode challenges the child to identify certain letters, phonemes and pictures — such as asking for the picture that begins with a certain letter or letter sound.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phoneme'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of phoneme
French phonème, from Greek phōnēmat-, phōnēma speech sound, utterance, from phōnein to sound
First Known Use: 1879See Words from the same year
PHONEME Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of phoneme for Students
: one of the smallest units of speech that distinguish one utterance from another
Medical Definition of phoneme
: 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
Seen and Heard
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