a suffix used principally in linguistics to form nouns with the sense “significant contrastive unit,” at the level of language specified by the stem: morpheme; tagmeme.

Nearby words

  1. -een,
  2. -eer,
  3. -ein,
  4. -ella,
  5. -elle,
  6. -emia,
  7. -en,
  8. -ence,
  9. -enchyma,
  10. -ency

Origin of -eme

extracted from phoneme

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for -eme


suffix forming nouns

linguistics indicating a minimal distinctive unit of a specified type in a languagemorpheme; phoneme

Word Origin for -eme

C20: via French, abstracted from phoneme

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for -eme


in linguistics, noted as an active suffix and word-formation element from 1953; from French -ème "unit, sound," from phonème (see phoneme).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper