from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Diacritical.
  • adj. Medicine Diagnostic or distinctive.
  • n. A mark, such as the cedilla of façade or the acute accent of resumé, added to a letter to indicate a special phonetic value or distinguish words that are otherwise graphically identical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. distinguishing
  • adj. Denoting a distinguishing mark applied to a letter or character.
  • n. A special mark added to a letter to indicate a different pronunciation, stress, tone, or meaning.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. That separates or distinguishes; -- applied to points or marks used to distinguish letters of similar form, or different sounds of the same letter, as, ā, ă, ä, ō, ŏ, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to distinguish: same as diacritical (which is the more common form).
  • n. A diacritical mark (which see, under diacritical).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. capable of distinguishing
  • n. a mark added to a letter to indicate a special pronunciation


Greek diakritikos, distinguishing, from diakritos, distinguished, from diakrīnein, to distinguish : dia-, apart; see dia- + krīnein, to separate; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek διακριτικός (diakritikos, "distinguishing, separative"), from διακρίνειν (diakrinein, "to distinguish, separate"), from διά (dia, "between") + κρίνω (krinō, "I separate, distinguish"). (Wiktionary)



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