All Words > Dieresis

illustration Dieresis



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin/Greek, 17th century


A mark (¨) placed over a vowel to indicate that it is sounded in a separate syllable, as in naïve, Brontë.


The division of a sound into two syllables, especially by sounding a diphthong as two vowels.

Examples of Dieresis in a sentence

""The New Yorker" is known for using a dieresis on words with a repeated vowel, such as “reënter.”"

"Luanne and Sally chose to use a dieresis in place of a hyphen when naming their store “Coöperative.”"

About Dieresis

“Dieresis” comes directly from both the Latin “diæresis” and the nearly identical Greek “διαίρεσις,” meaning “division” or “split.”

Did you Know?

The dieresis is sometimes confused with its identical-in-appearance relative, the umlaut, yet the two serve different functions. Both appear as the same two dots over a letter, however, a dieresis is specifically used to indicate that the pronunciation of vowels in a word is split. A dieresis is the reason the word “naïve” is pronounced as two syllables. Without the dieresis, it might rhyme with “rave” or “cave.” On the other hand, umlauts appear only in German, and their job is either to change the sound of a vowel, or to modify the word in some way (for example, by making it plural).

illustration Dieresis

Recent Words

What's the word?