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From Ancient Greek διαίρεσις (diaíresis, division, split), from διά (diá, apart) + αἱρέω (hairéō, I take).



diaeresis (plural diaereses)

  1. (orthography) A diacritic ( ¨ ) placed over a vowel letter (especially the second of two consecutive ones) indicating that it is sounded separately, usually forming a distinct syllable, as in the English words naïve, Noël and Brontë, the French haïr and the Dutch ruïne.
  2. (linguistics, prosody) The separation of a vowel, often a diphthong, into two distinct syllables.
  3. (prosody) A natural break in rhythm when a word ends at the end of a metrical foot, in a line of verse.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The umlaut is an often visually identical diacritic which alters the sound of a single vowel (as in German schön). Properly speaking, the terms diaeresis and umlaut are not interchangeable, though speakers frequently use the term umlaut to refer to a diaeresis.



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