diphthong

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

French diphtongue, from Ancient Greek δίφθογγος (díphthongos, two sounds), from δίς (dís, twice) + φθόγγος (phthóngos, sound).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

diphthong (plural diphthongs)

  1. (phonetics) A complex vowel sound that begins with the sound of one vowel and ends with the sound of another vowel, in the same syllable.
    For example: "ae", "au", "ou"
  2. (rare) A vowel digraph or ligature.
    • 1854, Robert Bigsby, Historical and Topographical Description of Repton, in the County of Derby, Woodfall and Kinder, page 47:
      And he might have written the name, also, with the diphthong æ, as well as the single vowel, in the initial syllable, throughout all the preceding forms.
    • 1860, Joseph E. Worcester, An Elementary Dictionary of the English Language, A New Edition, Swan, Brewer, and Tileston (publishers), page 12:
      An improper diphthong has only one of the vowels sounded; as, ea in heat, oa in coal.
    • 1874, Theophilus Dwight Hall, A Child’s First Latin Book, John Murray (publisher), page 3:
      The diphthong ae is sounded like ē (§7); that is, it has the sound of ey in they.

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