noun Linguistics.

a minimal unit of a writing system.
a unit of a writing system consisting of all the written symbols or sequences of written symbols that are used to represent a single phoneme.

Nearby words

  1. graph paper,
  2. graph theory,
  3. graph-,
  4. graphalloy,
  5. graphanesthesia,
  6. graphemics,
  7. graphene,
  8. graphic,
  9. graphic accent,
  10. graphic arts

Origin of grapheme

First recorded in 1935–40; graph- + -eme

Related formsgra·phe·mi·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for grapheme



linguistics one of a set of orthographic symbols (letters or combinations of letters) in a given language that serve to distinguish one word from another and usually correspond to or represent phonemes, e.g. the f in fun, the ph in phantom, and the gh in laugh
Derived Formsgraphemically, adverb

Word Origin for grapheme

C20: from Greek graphēma a letter

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 grapheme



1937, American English, from graph "letter, symbol" (see -graphy) + -eme "unit of language structure."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper