Definition of phoneme noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

phoneme

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈfəʊniːm//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈfoʊniːm//
 
(phonetics) Phonetics
 
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any one of the set of smallest units of speech in a language that distinguish one word from another. In English, the /s/ in sip and the /z/ in zip represent two different phonemes. See related entries: Phonetics Word Origin late 19th cent.: from French phonème, from Greek phōnēma ‘sound, speech’, from phōnein ‘speak’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: phoneme