[ dif-thawng, -thong, dip- ]
/ ˈdɪf θɔŋ, -θɒŋ, ˈdɪp- /


Phonetics. an unsegmentable, gliding speech sound varying continuously in phonetic quality but held to be a single sound or phoneme and identified by its apparent beginning and ending sound, as the oi-sound of toy or boil.
(not in technical use)
  1. a digraph, as the ea of meat.
  2. a ligature, as æ.

verb (used with or without object)

Origin of diphthong

1425–75; late Middle English diptonge < Late Latin diphthongus < Greek díphthongos literally, having two sounds (di- di-1 + phthóngos voice, sound)


diph·thon·gal [dif-thawng-guh l, -thong-, dip-] /dɪfˈθɔŋ gəl, -ˈθɒŋ-, dɪp-/, diph·thon·gic, diph·thon·gous, adjectivenon·diph·thon·gal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for diphthongs

British Dictionary definitions for diphthongs

/ (ˈdɪfθɒŋ, ˈdɪp-) /


a vowel sound, occupying a single syllable, during the articulation of which the tongue moves from one position to another, causing a continual change in vowel quality, as in the pronunciation of a in English late, during which the tongue moves from the position of (e) towards (ɪ)
a digraph or ligature representing a composite vowel such as this, as ae in Caesar

Derived forms of diphthong

diphthongal, adjective

Word Origin for diphthong

C15: from Late Latin diphthongus, from Greek diphthongos, from di- 1 + phthongos sound
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