[ breev, brev ]

  1. Phonetics, Orthography. a diacritic (˘) over a vowel to show that it is short, or to indicate a specific pronunciation, as ŭ in (kŭt) cut.

  2. Law.

    • an initial writ.

    • a writ, as one issued by a court of law.

  1. Music.

    • the longest modern note, equivalent to two semibreves or whole notes.

    • Also brevis. a note in medieval mensural notation equal to one-half or one-third of a longa.

  2. Prosody. a mark (˘) over a syllable to show that it is not stressed.

Origin of breve

1250–1300; Middle English <Medieval Latin, Latin breve, neuter of brevis short; see brief

Words Nearby breve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use breve in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for breve


/ (briːv) /

  1. an accent, (˘), placed over a vowel to indicate that it is of short duration or is pronounced in a specified way

  2. music a note, now rarely used, equivalent in time value to two semibreves

  1. RC Church a less common word for brief (def. 7)

Origin of breve

C13: from Medieval Latin breve, from Latin brevis short; see brief

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