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The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, as the m of mat and the b of bat in English.
[French phonème, from Greek phōnēma, phōnēmat-, utterance, sound produced, from phōnein, to produce a sound, from phōnē, sound, voice; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(Linguistics) linguistics one of the set of speech sounds in any given language that serve to distinguish one word from another. A phoneme may consist of several phonetically distinct articulations, which are regarded as identical by native speakers, since one articulation may be substituted for another without any change of meaning. Thus /p/ and /b/ are separate phonemes in English because they distinguish such words as pet and bet, whereas the light and dark /l/ sounds in little are not separate phonemes since they may be transposed without changing meaning
[C20: via French from Greek phōnēma sound, speech]
any of the minimal units of speech sound in a language that can serve to distinguish one word from another: The (p) of pit and the (b) of bit are considered two different phonemes, while the unaspirated (p) of spin and the aspirated (p) of pin are not. Compare allophone.
[1890–95; < French phonème < Greek phṓnēma sound <phōneîn to make a sound (derivative of phonḗ sound, voice)]
phoneme- A word for a hallucination in which voices are heard.
See also related terms for heard.
Any of the speech sounds in a language that convey a difference in meaning.
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|Noun||1.||phoneme - (linguistics) one of a small set of speech sounds that are distinguished by the speakers of a particular language|
linguistics - the scientific study of language
speech sound, phone, sound - (phonetics) an individual sound unit of speech without concern as to whether or not it is a phoneme of some language
allophone - (linguistics) any of various acoustically different forms of the same phoneme
phoneme[ˈfəʊniːm] N → fonema m
n → Phonem nt