Part of speech: noun
Origin: Greek, 15th century
A sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward another (as in coin, loud, and side).
A digraph representing the sound of a diphthong or single vowel (as in feat).
Examples of Diphthong in a sentence
"Practicing a new diphthong was the most difficult part of her Chinese lesson."
"As a songwriter she has to account for how the diphthong of the word affects the musicality."
Popularity Over Time
Don’t let the “PHTH” scare you off. You use diphthongs every time you speak. It’s the linguistic term for using two vowel sounds together. It starts off as one vowel and then progresses to another. Even a short word like “cry” contains a diphthong — that “Y” is pronounced with an “I” moving into “EE.”
Did you Know?
Within the same language you’ll find the diphthongs changing to reflect regional dialects and accents. With a Midwestern American English accent, dog is pronounced with a single “O” sound. But with a New York accent, it turns into a diphthong with an “AW” sound. You can listen for the diphthong, and you can see it reflected through special linguistic symbols (digraphs) also called diphthongs.