Definition of breve in English:

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Pronunciation: /brēv/ Pronunciation: /brev/


1A musical note having the time value of two semibreves or whole notes.
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.
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.
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.

  • brief from Middle English:

    Briefs or underpants, which were first worn in the 1930s, are literally ‘shorts’. Brief comes from the Latin word brevis, meaning ‘short’, a root shared by abbreviate (Late Middle English) and the musical note breve (Late Middle English), which used to mean a short note.

Words that rhyme with breve

achieve, believe, cleave, conceive, deceive, eve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, khedive, leave, misconceive, naive, Neve, peeve, perceive, reave, receive, reive, relieve, reprieve, retrieve, sheave, sleeve, steeve, Steve, Tananarive, Tel Aviv, thieve, underachieve, upheave, weave, we've, Yves

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: breve

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