[ sem-ee-breev, -brev, sem-ahy- ]
/ ˈsɛm iˌbriv, -ˌbrɛv, ˈsɛm aɪ- /

noun Music (chiefly British ).

a note half the length of a breve; whole note.

Nearby words

  1. semiautonomous,
  2. semiautonomy,
  3. semibasement,
  4. semibituminous coal,
  5. semibold,
  6. semicanal,
  7. semicentenary,
  8. semicentennial,
  9. semicircle,
  10. semicircular

Origin of semibreve

First recorded in 1585–95; semi- + breve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for semibreve

  • The last note of the exercise, which was printed as a dotted minim, has been changed to a semibreve.

    Advice to Singers|Frederick James Crowest
  • So much is Don Zuniga, her father, that he does not know a semibreve from a culverin!

  • The dotted minim value of this corresponds with the semibreve value of the other.

    Shakespeare and Music|Edward W. Naylor
  • There was also a semibreve, a diamond-shaped note which was used when two or more tones were sung to one syllable.

British Dictionary definitions for semibreve


/ (ˈsɛmɪˌbriːv) /


music a note, now the longest in common use, having a time value that may be divided by any power of 2 to give all other notesUsual US and Canadian name: whole note See also breve (def. 2)
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