Definition of breve in English:


Syllabification: breve
Pronunciation: /brēv, brev


  • 1A musical note having the time value of two semibreves or whole notes.
    More example sentences
    • The relationship between the semibreve and the minim is exactly the same as that accorded to the breve and semibreve.
    • This consists simply of four notes written out on a single stave in breves.
    • Semi means half, and although rare and rather ancient, the British system includes the breve in its logic.
  • 2A written or printed mark (˘) indicating a short or unstressed vowel.
    More example sentences
    • Other explanations of English verse use more convenient typography as substitutes for the acute accent and breve.
    • Accent caron, which should be used in pinyin instead of accent breve is not always supported.
    • The vowel letters that are used in conjunction with the breve symbol are replaced by compound vowel letters.
  • 3 historical An authoritative letter from a pope or monarch.
    More example sentences
    • The authority of the English crown in Ireland rested ultimately on the grant of the lordship in the alleged breve Laudibiliter.
    • In these cases the title of breve might be accompanied or replaced by that of notitia, or memoratorium.
    • The Jesuits took care to notify the general disregard for the papal breve.


Middle English: variant of brief. In the musical sense, the term was originally used in a series where a long was of greater time value than a breve.

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elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody