breve (brĕv, brēv)
1. A symbol ( ˘ ) placed over a vowel to show that it has a short sound.
2. A curved mark used to indicate a short or unstressed syllable of verse.
3. Music A note equivalent to two whole notes.
[Middle English, written communication, from Old French, from Medieval Latin, short syllable, from Latin, neuter of brevis, short; see BRIEF.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.