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grapheme

[graf-eem]
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noun Linguistics.
  1. a minimal unit of a writing system.
  2. 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.
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Origin of grapheme

First recorded in 1935–40; graph- + -eme
Related formsgra·phe·mi·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for grapheme

grapheme

noun
  1. 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
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Derived Formsgraphemically, adverb

Word Origin

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

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper