Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


A breve is a diacritical mark ˘ like a little round cup, in Romanian possible above the a (the ə schwa vowel) and in Esperanto possible above the u. It is also widely used in pronunciation keys to indicate that a vowel has a short sound.

The HTML/Unicode numbers for breve letters are:

DescriptionUpper Case Lower Case
Letter HTML Letter HTML
A-breveĂ Ă ă ă
E-breveĔ Ĕ ĕ ĕ
I-breveĬ Ĭ ĭ ĭ
O-breveŎ Ŏ ŏ ŏ
U-breveŬ Ŭ ŭ ŭ
G-breveĞ Ğ ğ ğ
  Ắ ắ
  Ằ ằ
  Ẳ ẳ
  Ẵ ẵ
  Ặ ặ

The last rows are the letter A/a with breve and acute, grave, hook, tilde, and dot, respectively. These are mainly used in the Vietnamese language.

A breve is also a note in music, lasting twice as long as a semibreve (or whole note). Because it lasts longer than a bar in most modern time signatures, it is now rarely encountered, but in Mediaeval music it was the shortest note length, and could be either a half or a third as long as the longa.