Meaning of diacritic in English:


Pronunciation /ˌdʌɪəˈkrɪtɪk/

See synonyms for diacritic on

Translate diacritic into Spanish


  • A sign, such as an accent or cedilla, which when written above or below a letter indicates a difference in pronunciation from the same letter when unmarked or differently marked.

    ‘Admittedly a lot of those are basic Roman characters with diacritics but the exact positioning of the diacritic can be tricky - and it can sometimes modify the basic character shape.’
    • ‘Accuracy is thus particularly relevant when testing reading in a pointed orthography, which involves attention to both letters and diacritics in different linguistic contexts.’
    • ‘The other three vowels are represented by diacritics, which are super- or sub-scripted to the letters in a word.’
    • ‘In the first experiment, words were presented with pointing, that is, vowel diacritics carrying the full vocalic information in the word; and without pointing, i.e., with partial and ambiguous vowel marking by letters.’
    • ‘This disadvantage is made worse by the limited number of characters on keyboards originally designed for English and may require a complex use of keys to add diacritics to letters.’
    • ‘Because it was the English alphabet that was the standard, only a very few non-English accents and diacritics could be handled.’
    • ‘You might speculate that the earlier explanation is right, but words that Google thinks are of financial value, i.e. adwords that might be sold to a vendor, are indexed using a different algorithm that ignores diacritics completely.’
    • ‘The present invention is a method for recognizing non-English alpha characters that contain diacritics.’
    • ‘Y. R. Chao was also known for the romanization of Chinese that he promoted, the Gwoyeu Romatzyh, whose distinguishing feature is that it indicates tone by changes in the letters used, not by diacritics.’
    • ‘It's actually a pretty straightforward quiz, no questions about the minor uses of parentheses or diacritics or anything like that.’
    • ‘Specifically, I need to use fonts with Polish diacritics.’
    • ‘Since this journal does not specialize in Islamic theology, I will, for simplicity's sake, omit many of the diacritics used in the English transliteration of Arabic terms.’
    • ‘Hopkins employed a large number of notation marks or diacritics in his manuscripts in addition to detailed explanations and commentary, generally in his letters to Robert Bridges.’
    • ‘Apologies to non-Gaelic speakers for that linguistic intrusion, apologies to Gaelic speakers for being unable to find HTML equivalents for the needed diacritics.’
    • ‘Starting from the epigraphic capital, decorations were now added to cross-strokes and feet, diacritics took on a curved shape, and in general the letter-form narrowed downwards.’
    • ‘Nor can it be a case of orthographic fetishism, such as the gratuitous use of diacritics intended to make a word look chic, e.g. Lancôme.’
    • ‘The alphabet uses a great many diacritics to show spoken tones.’
    • ‘Consequently, diacritics typically have been omitted from modern editions of his poems.’
    symbol, mark, cipher, letter, character, numeral, figure, type, code, hieroglyph


  • (of a mark or sign) indicating a difference in pronunciation.

    ‘But it has now lost its appeal largely because a total of 136 syllables require additional phonetic signs or diacritic marks, making it a fairly cumbersome system for printing and typing.’
    • ‘They all contain numerous diacritic marks for which musical equivalents could be deduced.’
    • ‘Even pinyin using diacritic marks has problems.’
    • ‘No diacritic marks are normally used for native English words, unless the apostrophe and the diaeresis sign are counted as such.’
    • ‘The diacritic mark may be left out on some sites or may not display correctly.’
    • ‘The one or more diacritic components are then distinguished and isolated from the base portion of the character.’


Late 17th century from Greek diakritikos, from diakrinein ‘distinguish’, from dia- ‘through’ + krinein ‘to separate’.