Definition of triphthong in English:

triphthong

Pronunciation /ˈtrɪfθɒŋ/ /ˈtrɪpθɒŋ/

noun

  • 1A union of three vowels (letters or sounds) pronounced in one syllable (as in fire).

    • ‘Diphthongs and triphthongs do not come into the picture at all.’
    • ‘Words such as course and force are sometimes realized with a triphthong //, especially among older speakers.’
    • ‘Leaving the triphthongs aside for now, when diphthongs occur, they vary, causing new phonemes to arise.’
    • ‘It does look more like a triphthong than a diphthong, but the middle sound is high-central or even high-back.’
    • ‘The vowels in fire and power are triphthongs.’
    1. 1.1Three written vowel characters representing the sound of a single vowel (as in beau).
      • ‘For one, there is no such thing as a triphthong in Latin.’
      • ‘If two or three strong vowels are together, they do not produce the single diphthong or triphthong sound and are instead pronounced as separate syllables: fea, leo, lee, peleándose and Isaac should be pronounced, Is-a-a-c.’
      • ‘Vowels, diphthongs, triphthongs and consonants are taught using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) for the purpose of eliminating regional characteristics in the student's speech pattern.’

Origin

Mid 16th century from French triphtongue, from tri-‘three’, on the pattern of diphthong.

Pronunciation

triphthong

/ˈtrɪfθɒŋ/ /ˈtrɪpθɒŋ/