About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word




Pronunciation: WAV or RealAudio

dieresis or diaeresis (die-ER-i-sis) noun

1. Linguistics. A mark placed over the second of two adjacent vowels to indicate that they are to be pronounced as separate sounds rather than a dipthong. A mark placed over a vowel, such as the final vowel in Bronte, to indicate that the vowel is not silent.

2. Poetry. A break or pause in a line of verse that occurs when the end of a word and the end of a metric foot coincide.

[Late Latin diaeresis, from Greek diairesis, from diairein, to divide : dia-, apart + hairein, to take.]

"There is usually a pause (caesura) within the third or fourth foot (rarely between them, and then called diaeresis) ... " Paul F. Baum, Prosody, Colliers Encyclopedia CD-ROM, 28 Feb 1996.

"My daughter's name is Zoe, with two dots over the e. Every time I want to type her name in a Word document, I type Z-O-E. Word then underlines this spelling as incorrect and offers me a number of options, the second of which is correct. This can be time-consuming. Is there a simple way to insert the diaeresis? " Connected: Dotty about Zoe FAQS! FACTS! FAX!, The Daily Telegraph, 3 Dec 1998

This week's theme: words about punctuation and diacritics.


If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment of knowledge always pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith