Definition of grapheme in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɡrafiːm/


The smallest meaningful contrastive unit in a writing system. Compare with phoneme.
Example sentences
  • Then, beginning readers learn to parse the printed word into graphemes and subsequently assign phonemes to the different graphemes.
  • There were more deviations from the normal pattern in the pointed experiment, where dyslexies had to process both graphemes and diacritic signs than in the nonpointed experiment.
  • Alternatively, the graphemes can be synthesized and mapped onto complete orthographic lexical representations.



Pronunciation: /-ˈmatɪk/


Pronunciation: /ɡrəˈfiːmɪk/
Example sentences
  • Those authors presented words in a study phase, accompanied by one of three types of questions, about the graphemic, phonemic or semantic properties of the word.
  • Selecting the correct word requires the user to attend to the specific/unique characteristics (e.g., phonemic, graphemic, morphemic) of the word among other, similar sounding and looking words.
  • Our reasoning was that the passive condition ensured that the children received visual / graphemic and phonological input exactly at the same time, which might be important for forming the relevant associations.


Pronunciation: /ɡrəˈfiːmɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • In Experiment 1, the preview of target characters consisted of targets or of graphemically similar, homophonic, or dissimilar characters.
  • All graphemically similar probe words and targets differed by only one letter.
  • In this sense, in modern English a "b" is graphemically distinct from a "c", because by substituting one for the other we can move from "bat" to "cat".


Example sentences
  • The sixteen articles are organized into sections on phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, historical/comparative linguistics, and graphemics.
  • Furthermore, it is possible to search the corpus according to different beginning graphemics of the words.
  • This paper will address the relationship between 'school orthography' and graphemics.


1930s: from graph2 + -eme.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: graph|eme

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.