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cedilla

[si-dil-uh] /sɪˈdɪl ə/
noun
1.
a mark (¸) placed under a consonant letter, as under c in French, in Portuguese, and formerly in Spanish, to indicate that it is pronounced (s), under c and s in Turkish to indicate that they are pronounced, respectively, (ch) and (sh), or under t and s in Romanian to indicate that they are pronounced, respectively, (ts) and (sh).
2.
this mark used as a diacritic of arbitrary value in transliteration of words from non-Roman into Roman alphabetic characters.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Spanish variant spelling of zedilla little z, equivalent to zed(a) zed + -illa diminutive suffix; the mark was so called from its original form
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for cedilla

cedilla

/sɪˈdɪlə/
noun
1.
a character (¸) placed underneath a c before a, o, or u, esp in French, Portuguese, or Catalan, denoting that it is to be pronounced (s), not (k). The same character is used in the scripts of other languages, as in Turkish under s
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish: little z, from ceda zed, from Late Latin zeta; a small z was originally written after c in Spanish, to indicate a sibilant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cedilla
n.

c.1600, from Spanish cedilla, zedilla, literally "little z," from a Latin-like diminutive of Greek zeta "the letter 'z'." The mark (formerly also used in Spanish) was derived from that letter and indicates a "soft" sound in letters in positions where normally they have a "hard" sound. See zed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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