Definition of triphthong in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtrɪfθɒŋ/
Pronunciation: /ˈtrɪpθɒŋ/


1A union of three vowels (letters or sounds) pronounced in one syllable (as in fire). Contrasted with diphthong, monophthong.
Example sentences
  • Diphthongs and triphthongs do not come into the picture at all.
  • Words such as course and force are sometimes realized with a triphthong //, especially among older speakers.
  • Leaving the triphthongs aside for now, when diphthongs occur, they vary, causing new phonemes to arise.
1.1Three written vowel characters representing the sound of a single vowel (as in beau).
Example sentences
  • For one, there is no such thing as a triphthong in Latin.
  • If two or three strong vowels are together, they do not produce the single diphthong or triphthong sound and are instead pronounced as separate syllables: fea, leo, lee, peleándose and Isaac should be pronounced, Is-a-a-c.
  • Vowels, diphthongs, triphthongs and consonants are taught using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) for the purpose of eliminating regional characteristics in the student's speech pattern.



Pronunciation: /trɪfˈθɒŋɡ(ə)l/ Pronunciation: /trɪpˈθɒŋɡ(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • There is always triphthongal synalepha when a is the middle vowel; or when o or e is the middle vowel, except in the following combinations, aoa, aoo, ooo, aea, aeo, oea, oeo.
  • It does seem that some forms of English have a triphthongal [aI@].
  • In actual words, these unstressed vowels are written ‘i/u ’, ‘e/o ’, ‘a’, ‘ai/au ’, and ‘eai/oau’ (triphthongal), i.e., marking roundness but omitting the diacritics placed on stressed vowels of the same quality (since they are redundant due to vowel harmony).


Mid 16th century: from French triphtongue, from tri- 'three', on the pattern of diphthong.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: triph|thong

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