diphthong

[dif-thawng, -thong, dip-]
noun
1.
Phonetics. an unsegmentable, gliding speech sound varying continuously in phonetic quality but held to be a single sound or phoneme and identified by its apparent beginning and ending sound, as the oi- sound of toy or boil.
2.
a.
a digraph, as the ea of meat.
b.
a ligature, as æ.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

Origin:
1425–75; late Middle English diptonge < Late Latin diphthongus < Greek díphthongos literally, having two sounds (di- di-1 + phthóngos voice, sound)

diphthongal [dif-thawng-guhl, -thong-, dip-] , diphthongic, diphthongous, adjective
nondiphthongal, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
diphthong (ˈdɪfθɒŋ, ˈdɪp-)
 
n
1.  a vowel sound, occupying a single syllable, during the articulation of which the tongue moves from one position to another, causing a continual change in vowel quality, as in the pronunciation of a in English late, during which the tongue moves from the position of (e) towards ()
2.  a digraph or ligature representing a composite vowel such as this, as ae in Caesar
 
[C15: from Late Latin diphthongus, from Greek diphthongos, from di-1 + phthongos sound]
 
diph'thongal
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

diphthong
late 15c., from M.Fr., from L.L., from Gk. diphthongos, from di- "double" + phthongos "sound, voice," related to phthengesthai "utter, speak loudly."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

diphthong

in phonetics, a gliding vowel in the articulation of which there is a continuous transition from one position to another. Diphthongs are to be contrasted in this respect with so-called pure vowels-i.e., unchanging, or steady state, vowels. Though they are single speech sounds, diphthongs are usually represented, in a phonetic transcription of speech, by means of a pair of characters indicating the initial and final configurations of the vocal tract. Many of the vowel sounds in most dialects of English are diphthongs: e.g., the vowels of "out" and "ice," represented as [au] and [ai], respectively.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The production of a diphthong acoustically is a glide between two sounds.
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